Hays paid just £6m for Thomas Cook shops

Hays Travel paid just over £6 million for the licenses to occupy Thomas Cook’s 555 shops sold following the company’s collapse.

The figure emerged at the latest hearing of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on Wednesday.

MPs heard that the Official Receiver was satisfied that the Hays Travel deal was the best outcome for creditors with there being “little or no value” around some of the stores.

Following a question from MPs, Insolvency Service CEO Dean Beale said: “The recommendation was that this was the best deal on the table”.

He made the disclosure while also revealing that fees for ‘special managers’ used in the first three weeks of the Thomas Cook liquidation had totalled £11 million.

Beale confirmed that the Official Receiver would be looking into the contracts of former directors to see if any bonuses can be clawed back.

He added that after taking up his position at the Insolvency Service on September 2, he met with officials on September 6. He sent the business secretary a briefing on September 13 about the role the Insolvency Service would play if Thomas Cook collapsed.

Financial Reporting Council enforcement director Elizabeth Barrett said the audit watchdog had been looking into Thomas Cook’s 2018 audit before the company failed.

However, more than 100 firms seen as a “risky” are selected for such expectations. Pressure from public opinion and the press did not impact the decision to begin an investigation.

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