Saturday 20 April 2019 1:13 pm

Thomas Cook holds preliminary talks with suitors about potential takeover

Thomas Cook has sparked the interest of a number of potential bidders as the company's lenders prepare to discuss its financial state.

Several parties have made enquiries about taking over the company's tour operating business, or the entire company, according to Sky News.

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Currently talks are at a preliminary stage with any deal likely to be months away, Sky reported.

One of the potential suitors for Thomas Cook's tour operating business is understood to be Fosun, which already runs a joint-venture with the travel company in China. 

EU laws stipulate that airlines within the bloc must be majority-owned by a European shareholder, meaning Fosun's Club Med holiday business cannot own Thomas Cook's carrier for the time being. 

Sources told Sky that other logical potential bidders could include private equity firms KKR and EQT, which own Kuoni Group and Travelopia respectively.

Thomas Cook, which has more than 100 aircraft in its fleet, has an annual turnover of more than £9bn and is valued at around £3.2bn. 

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The London-listed travel firm has an enterprise value of about £1.8bn, with gross debt of about £1.4bn and has a market capitalisation of about £375m after its share price fell 80 per cent over the last 12 months. 

Last month, the company said it would be closing 21 high street stores in order to save costs with the majority of bookings now conducted online.