Thomas Cook seeking 'last-ditch' fire sale [UPDATED]

Mon, 23 Sep 2019 | BUSINESS SALE



Thomas Cook Group is reportedly trying to piece together a last-ditch fire sale in a bid to avoid collapse, according to Sky News.

Having announced earlier this year that 21 stores were to be closed, the 178-year-old company is now trying to prevent the biggest peacetime repatriation of British citizens of all time by holding talks with a number of potential firms.

According to the group, both its Nordic airline and its tour operating units are up for sale, with the resulting cash to be used to fill a £200 million black hole in its finances following a lender demand that the firm secure new standby funding.

Sources have revealed that Thomas Cook is currently exploring "every possible option", making it the ideal time for any prospective buyers to make a bid for all or part of the units up for sale. However, should no buyer present themselves, the group is expected to be forced into administration in the next few days.

In fact, AlixPartners, which has been responsible for providing the group with advice over the past few months, is expected to be appointed to handle an insolvency process should any purchase attempts fall through.

In spite of the hard times now facing Thomas Cook, its largest shareholder Fosun has stated that the company is a valuable platform for expansion into the European travel market.

Thomas Cook was founded in 1841 by a 32-year old cabinet maker and former Baptist preacher who wanted to offer people one-day rail excursions from Leicester to Loughborough for a shilling.

Over the past 178 years, the company has become one of the world's largest holiday firms, and currently employs 9,000 people in the UK and 20,000 people across the world.

UPDATE MONDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2019:

Thomas Cook has failed in its last-minute attempt to attract a bid or emergency finance and has collapsed into compulsory liquidation. In simple terms, a liquidation means that it must immediately stop trading as a going concern, in contrast to an administration procedure.

Effective now, it is unable to take new bookings or even fly planes to repatriate the approximately 150,000 holidaymakers who flew out with the company.

Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser issued the following statement today: “We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers. Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable."

While the UK government is footing the bill to lay on charter flights for stranded holidaymakers, it is clear they are not interested in providing a state bailout for the failed commercial enterprise.

There are a number of associated companies that are going into liquidation, with either AlixPartners UK LLP or KPMG LLP running the insolvency process. There will be aviation assets, airport slots and IP up for sale before long.


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