July 6 2006: Reports emerge that Kuoni and First Choice are in merger talks about creating a rival to market leaders TUI and Thomas Cook.

November 11 2006: MyTravel confirmed it has made an approach to First Choice Holidays over the acquisition of First Choice’s Mainstream business. A statement said: “The MyTravel Board believes this is an opportunity that could deliver significant value to both First Choice and MyTravel shareholders.”

November 20 2006: First Choice divisional managing director Dermot Blastland confirmed the operator is looking to restructure, saying: “We are considering a range of options and are at a preliminary stage with a number of parties.”

December 15 2006: Following his promotion to Thomas Cook AG chairman and group chief executive, Manny Fontenla-Novoa said: “If you look at recent performances, all the signs for consolidation are there but I cannot say how quickly it will happen.”

January 12 2007: Thomson boss Peter Rothwell ruled out any involvement in a deal, saying: “To merge with anyone else would cause as many problems as it would opportunities.”

January 25 2007: Kuoni managing director Sue Biggs said: “We are not buying First Choice. But I think consolidation is likely to come among the big four.”

February 9 2007: Fontenla-Novoa confirms Thomas Cook will be part of any consolidation, saying: “We are in very good shape to take part in consolidation, first in the UK, and not far behind, in Germany. But issues can get in the way.”