Friday 10 May 2019 11:23 am

Thomas Cook shares gain altitude as Virgin Atlantic joins bidding war

Travel agent Thomas Cook soared on the markets this morning amid reports that Virgin is joining the race to take over the business.

Richard Branson’s Virgin entered the battle to acquire the struggling tour operator’s UK long-haul operations by lodging a preliminary offer, Sky News reported after the bell yesterday.

Read more: Thomas Cook shares leap following Lufthansa bid for airline business

Shares took off this morning, up 5.55 per cent by 11am to 22.44p, making it the FTSE’s best performer.

Virgin becomes the latest in a line of suitors, after Lufthansa followed private equity firm Indigo Partners, submitting an offer for another part of the business earlier this week.

Lufthansa’s boss Carsten Spohr on Tuesday said that his firm will make a non-binding offer for the Condor airline part of Thomas Cook.

“We decided yesterday in the meeting of the management board to bid for all of Condor with the option to be able to extend this [bid] to all Thomas Cook airlines,” he told reporters at the company’s annual general meeting.

Last week Sky News reported that Thomas Cook is looking to next week announce a £400m extension of its borrowing facilities.

Read more: Thomas Cook angles for fresh '£400m' financing ahead of interim results

However, sources stressed that it does not need extra funding to get through the summer holiday.

Thomas Cook declined to comment, Lufthansa has been contacted for comment.