Monday, 30 July 2018

Thomas Cook Airlines for sale...again?

The Sunday Times has reported that British travel company Thomas Cook is looking at divesting itself of its airline, at least in part to a foreign investor.

The newspaper says that industry sources have told them discussions were at an early stage and that no change was likely in the immediate future. The newspaper declined to say who the 'industry' source was, or how close to the organisation they were,  but it is not the first time the company has been in talks to sell off the airline, either in whole or in part.  In April 2015 the very same Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper ran a story about Thomas Cook looking to flog the airline off as it tried to cut losses and tidy up the company balance sheet. At the time the airline said "We are definitely not desperate to sell our airline. There were no talks. There is no real news.". Although, a member of the team spoke to a contact working at the head office, who confirmed that tentative talks regarding starting negotiations for a joint venture had been made. 

Chinese conglomerate Fosun is already an existing shareholder in the group, around 12 percent, is looking to expand its holding, at least according to the Sunday Times.  A Thomas Cook spokesperson told the paper that the company had previously said it was open to industry consolidation but that it had “no current plans” to sell its airline.

Of course, shares in Thomas Cook has been on a steady decline since the middle of May and there is nothing like industry gossip on takeover or sell off plans to make the shares spike upwards.