Thomas Cook today said it is planning to buy The Co-operative Group out of its joint venture, taking full control of the UK retail store network, for £55.8m.
The tourism company will purchase The Co-operative Group's 30 per cent stake and Central England Co-operative's 3.5 per cent stake for £50m and £5.8m respectively - both in cash.
The deal is expected to be completed in November next year, but Thomas Cook can use The Co-operative Travel brand until November 2018.
The joint network was formed in October 2011 through the merger of the Thomas Cook's travel retail business, The Co-operative Group and Central England Co-operative, now known as Midlands Co-operative. It consists of 764 travel shops in the UK under the Thomas Cook and Co-op brands.
Thomas Cook said the deal came about after the Co-op announced plans to exit its joint venture.
The acquisition gives the company the opportunity to better integrate online offerings with its stores and focus on growing sales of added extras like holiday-related financial services, Thomas Cook Group chief executive Peter Fankhauser said.