A deal by Chinese conglomerate Fosun to acquire the Thomas Cook brand for just £11 million has drawn strong trade criticism.
The agreement also includes domain names, software applications, social media accounts and licences relating to the Thomas Cook, Casa Cook, Cook’s Club brands and other related brands across most international markets.
Fosun, which was Thomas Cook’s biggest shareholder before its demise and owns Club Med, had sought to save the travel giant with a pledge to inject £450 million as part of a £900 million rescue deal with banks and other lenders.
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But the deal failed after lending banks demanded extra contingency funding.
The announcement on Friday that the brand had been sold for a fraction of price Fosun was originally prepared to pay for the Thomas Cook Group was attacked by former staff, with more than 100 comments on Travel Weekly’s Facebook page.
Some described the sell-off as a “disgrace” while one said it was an “insult to all the staff who have lost their jobs”.
While welcoming the saving of the Thomas Cook brand, Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, said: “Let’s not overlook the fact the entire business could still have been a going concern if it hadn’t been allowed go to the wall by the ineptitude of the Tory government and its business secretary, Andrea Leadsom.
“Frankly, Fosun must think that Christmas has come early. They are now the proprietors of a longstanding and much-loved high street brand name that they have got for a paltry £11 million.
“Remember this comes after they were prepared to plough in £450 million to keep the company afloat – only for the Tories’ dead hand to consciously kill that bid.”
Qian Jiannong, chairman of Fosun Tourism Group, said: “The group has always believed in the brand value of Thomas Cook. The acquisition of the Thomas Cook brand will enable the Group to expand its tourism business building on the extensive brand awareness of Thomas Cook and the robust growth momentum of Chinese outbound tourism.
“Meanwhile, the introduction of new hotel brands will further enrich the offering of accommodation choices for tourism destinations business by the Group, diversify our resort and hotel operations and improve the FOLIDAY ecosystem in providing customers with quality holiday experience across the globe.
“After the acquisition of certain Thomas Cook related brands, the overseas acquisition related to Thomas Cook will come to an end for the time being.
“Following the acquisition, the group will focus on business expansion, using the newly acquired Thomas Cook brands to create synergies with the existing businesses of the group.”