Speculation that a range of firms could be lining up bids for parts or all of Thomas Cook should not come as a surprise as it remains the “best holiday brand” in the world, according to a leading City analyst.
Reports in the consumer media at the weekend suggested interest from Fosun International, which runs a joint venture with Thomas Cook and owns Club Med, as well as from private equity firms including Kuoni Group owner EQT and KKR, which owns Travelopia.
Thomas Cook declined to comment on the reports, but travel industry expert Andrew Monk, chief executive of VSA Capital, said the business represented an attractive proposition.
“Thomas Cook is still the best holiday brand in the industry globally,” he said. “There is a lot of value in that brand. It’s a pan‑European business, with a good airline and good slots, and that offers a lot of value to people.”
Monk said a potential sale of Thomas Cook Airlines, as a result of a strategic review it announced in February, would have attracted investors, some of which might now consider “buying the whole damn thing and having a tour operator to help fill the airline seats”.
Thomas Cook’s share price rose from 24.5p on Thursday to 29p on Tuesday morning, following the reports. However, this remained significantly lower than its price above 140p in May 2018, before it posted two profit warnings and reported a pre-tax loss of £163 million compared with a £9 million profit the previous year.
Monk said he believed firms including Thomas Cook and rivals Tui and Jet2holidays could benefit from an increase in consumer confidence following the Brexit delay, although there is no data to suggest a so-called “Brexit bounce” has translated into bookings so far.