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Thomas Cook agency set to dump stake on market

A STAKE of almost 50 per cent in Thomas Cook, Europe&rsquo;s second largest travel agent, is expected to be dumped on the market this week. <br /><br />The 43.9 per cent stake belonging to insolvent German department store owner Arcandor had been used as collateral against &euro;1.5bn (&pound;1.3bn) in credit from German banks Bayern and Commerzbank and RBS.<br /><br />But since its collapse Arcandor&rsquo;s creditor banks are placing the stock to recoup value.<br /><br />The much rumoured stock sale has already generated significant interest and it is believed there are already potential bidders lined up.<br /><br />It is believed the stock will be placed at a small discount to its current price of 229p.<br /><br />Arcandor, which was founded in 1881, was forced to file for insolvency in June when requests for state aid failed.<br /><br />Uncertainty over the stock sale and future of the company after Arcandor collapsed has weighed heavily on the share price since June.<br /><br />The banks initially sought a sale to private equity or Rewe, Germany&rsquo;s third biggest tour operator, which could have triggered a bid for Thomas Cook due to the group&rsquo;s synergies.<br /><br />Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa publicly favoured a sale to Rewe and had said such a deal would be &ldquo;logical&rdquo;.