Thomas Cook Group yesterday confirmed receiving an approach for its northern Europe business.
The offer from investment firm Triton Partners was described as being “highly preliminary and unsolicited”.
The travel group’s arm in northern Europe comprises a tour operation and airline in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
The group’s Nordic operations trade under the brands Ving, Tjareborg and Spies, and employ around 20% of Thomas Cook’s 21,000-strong workforce.
Thomas Cook, responding to media speculation, added: “The group is currently evaluating this offer alongside the ongoing strategic review of its group airline, announced in February 2019.
“The group has received multiple bids, including for the whole, and parts, of the airline business and the board of Thomas Cook Group will consider these approaches with the aim of maximising value for all shareholders.
“There can be no certainty that a transaction will be concluded with Triton Partners.
“Thomas Cook Group will make a further announcement as appropriate.”
The northern Europe business had underlying revenues of £1.2 billion last year with underlying EBIT [earnings] of £95 million.
Earlier on Thursday, credit rating agencies Fitch and S&P Global Ratings both cut Thomas Cook’s rating to CCC+, meaning they doubt the group’s ability to pay its debt if the sale of its airline does not go ahead.
Thomas Cook’s future was called into question after its headline winter half-year losses soared to £1.45 billion to the end of March as a consequence of a £1.1 billion write-down of the MyTravel business it merged with in 2007.
The company operates from 16 source markets with more than 22 million customers a year.