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Wolves owner Fosun 'interested in Thomas Cook takeover'

Business | Published:

Wolves owner Fosun is in the running to take over travel firm Thomas Cook, say reports.

Wolves owner Fosun is believed to be in the running to take over travel firm Thomas Cook

The Chinese company already runs a joint venture with the UK’s oldest holiday provider.

And it is now reported to have lodged a preliminary interest in buying its tour operating business.

The takeover would add yet another string to the bow of Fosun.

As well as owning Wolves, the company, which last month saw its turnover surge 24.2 per cent last year to reach a new high of £12.31 billion, has a wide range of interests.

It has a 24.5 per cent interest in Canada’s Cirque du Soleil theatre group and owns French luxury holidays company Club Med.

Its Fosun Pictures has also joined Skydance and Paramount Pictures as a global partner on the science fiction action film Gemini Man.

Wolves Executive Chairman Jeff Shi and Fosun Group representative

Thomas Cook shares surged following reports that a number of potential suitors are eyeing a takeover of the company.

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The debt-laden company has struggled recently, as a fall in demand for package holidays and intense online competition resulted in a string of profit warnings.

Share value had fallen by around 80 per cent over the past 12 months following a “disappointing” year which saw it post profit warnings in September and November 2018.

Fosun already works with Thomas Cook offering tours, including Wolves-themed travel products. The acquisition of the travel firm would fit in with its existing leisure brands.

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Last month, Thomas Cook revealed plans to close 21 high street stores, resulting in 320 job losses.

The proposed closures are part of plans to “streamline” its UK retail network under an efficiency programme, amid changes in consumer behaviour.

In February, Thomas Cook also announced plans to conduct a strategic review of its airline business as it seeks funds to drive investment elsewhere in its business portfolio.

The holiday sector is in the middle of a brutal price war, with consumers making fewer big ticket purchases amid economic uncertainty.

Rival Tui has been forced to issue two profit warnings in recent month, while easyJet also warned of slower-than-expected sales.

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