Thomas Cook shares soar on Fosun bid hopes
Shares in debt-stricken leisure travel group Thomas Cook soared on Monday as the company confirmed a takeover approach by China's Fosun Tourism Group for its tour operator business.
Thomas Cook, which issued three profit warnings last year, said it was talking to the Hong Kong-based company as it suffered dwindling demand for its package holidays and high levels of debt.
Any purchase would not include Thomas Cook's profitable airline business, which it was also said to be hawking around, as airlines must be majority owned by European Union nationals in order to operate intra-EU flights.
Thomas Cook also revealed it had received a takeover bid for its Nordic operations from private equity firm Triton, which owns European tour operator Sunweb.
The London-listed group told investors on Monday that while there could be "no certainty" that the approach would result in a formal offer, its board would consider "any potential offer alongside the other strategic options", with the aim of maximising value for shareholders.
Neil Wilson at Markets.com said: "Sadly, it rather looks like Thomas Cook will be carved up in some fashion or other.
"This may not be a bad thing – clearly managing this large, complex holiday business proved daunting. But selling off the various bits of the business is likely to be even more complex."
As of 0820 BST, Thomas Cook shares had shot up 17.74% to 18.96p.