Thomas Cook shares take off on reports of takeover talks
Shares in Thomas Cook jumped as much as 17 per cent this morning on reports it has held preliminary takeover talks with a string of potential suitors.
Read more: Thomas Cook holds preliminary talks with suitors about potential takeover
The sharp uplift in share price came after it emerged the firm has received enquiries from several parties about a takeover of its tour operating business, or the entire company.
Chinese investment firm Fosun International, which already runs a joint venture with the travel company, is tipped as a potential suitor for the tour operating business, according to Sky News.
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.
Other bidders could include private equity firms KKR and EQT, which own Kuoni Group and Travelopia respectively, according to sources.
Despite the interest, the talks are said to be at an early stage and any deal is likely to be months away.
Thomas Cook, which is valued at around £3.2bn, has suffered an 80 per cent decline in its share price over the last year amid falling demand for package holidays.
Read more: Thomas Cook to close 21 stores with 300 jobs at risk
Last month the travel company said it will close 21 high street stores in a bid to slash costs, with the majority of bookings now conducted online.