Thomas Cook shares soared more than 18 per cent this morning after the travel agent confirmed it was in talks with Fosun International over the sale of its tour operator business.
The Chinese tourism company, which is Thomas Cook’s largest shareholder, has approached the company over a potential takeover.
“There can be no certainty that this approach will result in a formal offer,” Thomas Cook said in a statement this morning.
“However, the board will consider any potential offer alongside the other strategic options that it has, with the aim of maximising value for all its stakeholders.”
A deal would see the Hong-Kong listed company, which owns Club Med, take control of the operating business which produces around £7.4bn in revenue a year.
However, Fosun could not buy Thomas Cook’s airline business due to European Union rules on aviation ownership.
The 178-year-old British travel group is already eyeing a sale of its airline operations, which analysts estimate could be worth around £1bn.
Thomas Cook has also revealed last month that it received a takeover approach for its Nordic operations from private equity group Sunweb.
The company is facing financial struggles and recently reported a half year loss of £1.5bn, driven by a £1.1bn goodwill writedown.
Fosun, which owns an 18 per cent stake in the group, has backed the group by increasing its stake in recent months.