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Fosun eyes Thomas Cook’s tour arm: Sky
Posted on Monday, 10 June 2019 10:20
Fosun Tourism is in early stage talks to acquire the tour operating business of Thomas Cook, which is looking into a range of options that could be a prelude to a break-up, sources close to the matter told Sky News. The Chinese owner of Club Med has a strategic 18.0 per cent stake in the UK-based global travel company but is unlikely to increase its investment while negotiations are under way. Sky’s sources noted Fosun has hinted recently it is preparing to table an offer, though terms are not yet clear, and an agreement will not only be complex, but would also take months to complete. A formal approach may be made within weeks but would not include Thomas Cook’s airline arm as European Union regulations governing the sector ban the JPMorgan-advised shareholder from acquiring the unit. Sky noted Triton has already indicated interest in acquiring these operations of the struggling, London-listed travel giant, as well its Scandinavian tour business. If the private equity house succeeds in inking an agreement, the deal would impact attempts by other suitors for the remaining assets. Thomas Cook needs to sell some of its business either way as the group secured GBP 300.00 million loan last month on the premise of a disposal. In an interview with Bloomberg at the end of May, Fosun chairman and chief executive Jim Jiannong Qian said the “European market is still the largest in the leisure holiday” sector. He added: “If you combine the market of these two continents [Europe and Asia] together, it will make a very, very interesting business.” Fosun and Thomas Cook already have a Chinese joint venture, which is growing strongly and expanding its product portfolio and distribution channels. This company has also opened offices in key strategic destinations for Chinese travellers, such as Sanya, Thailand and Japan. © Zephus Ltd