India's Thomas Cook to merge with Sterling Holiday in $140 mln deal

MUMBAI Sat Feb 8, 2014 2:26am EST

MUMBAI Feb 8 (Reuters) - Tour operator Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said on Saturday it will merge its operations with resort owner Sterling Holiday Resorts India Ltd in a deal valued at 8.7 billion rupees ($139.5 million).

The deal will be structured in a multi-stage process in which 100 shares of Sterling will be swapped for 120 shares of Thomas Cook (India).

Thomas Cook, in a statement, said it will first make a preferential allotment for 23.24 percent of Sterling at about 1.9 billion rupees and will then purchase another 23.63 percent of Sterling for 2.7 billion rupees.

This will be followed by a mandatory open offer for buying up to 26 percent stake for 2.3 billion rupees. Thomas Cook will also have the option to buy an additional 7.2 percent for 630 million rupees.

The merger, which is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2014, will give Thomas Cook access to Sterling Resorts' 19 properties in 16 holiday destinations across India. (Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Richard Borsuk)