Fosun set to make offer for Thomas Cook unit

By BLOOMBERG

LONDON • Fosun International Ltd’s tourism unit is in talks to buy Thomas Cook Group plc’s tour-operating business, Sky News reported.

Hong Kong-listed Fosun is already Thomas Cook’s biggest shareholder and is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co on the potential offer.

Discussions are at an early stage and it isn’t certain a bid will emerge, Sky said, citing people it didn’t identify.

Any deal would exclude Thomas Cook’s airline business, which Fosun would be unable to acquire due to European Union (EU) rules.

Officials at both companies declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel agency, has been grappling with a tough operating environment in the European travel sector amid dwindling bookings and uncertainty related to the UK’s departure from the EU.

Selling at least part of the operation is crucial to the company’s survival because a new £300 million (RM1.59 billion) loan announced last month is conditional on making progress with a disposal.

Other companies may also be weighing bids for parts of Thomas Cook.

Fosun Tourism chairman and CEO Jim Qian Jiannong said in a May 28 interview with Bloomberg that acquisitions and organic growth would be part of the company’s business model.

Fosun is well placed to take advantage of the European and Asian markets, he said. — Bloomberg