The European Commission has approved the proposed merger between Thomas Cook and MyTravel.


The agreement, made last Friday, allows the merger to go ahead for next month as timetabled, providing the deal wins the agreement of MyTravel shareholders on May 29 before a court hearing to sanction the scheme on June 18.


If everything goes to plan, both companies will merge becoming the Thomas Cook Group on June 19 when its shares would be listed on the London Stock Exchange and dealings would be commenced.


MyTravel Chief Executive Peter McHugh said: “I am delighted we have received this clearance. This is a significant milestone on the way to completing the merger. The merger is clearly in the best interests of our shareholders and the European Commission Phase I clearance will allow us to accelerate the merger process.”


Manny Fontenla-Novoa, Group CEO of Thomas Cook AG, said: “This is a very important development for us in the process of merging these two businesses and we are very pleased that the Commission has decided to clear the transaction.


“We are now one step closer to being able to deliver the substantial benefits of this merger to all our staff, customers, business partners and shareholders.”


The approval of the deal by the EC would suggest it will also green-light the proposed First Choice/Thomson deal when it comes up for consideration next month. An announcement concerning the deal was expected to be made within the next two weeks but it has now been delayed until June 4.


The delay has been caused following a meeting with the Competition Case Team of the European Commission yesterday (May3) when the issue of potential dominance post-merger in the Republic of Ireland was raised.


First Choice Holidays PLC and TUI AG have agreed to consider specific undertakings to address this issue, including the potential sale of one of their Irish businesses.


Despite the delay both operators remain confident the proposals will ultimately be given the go ahead.