April 23, 2019 / 7:16 AM / 5 months ago

Thomas Cook shares rise on report of possible takeover

April 23 (Reuters) - Shares in Thomas Cook Group Plc rose 15 percent on Tuesday, after a media report said the British travel company was approached by several parties about a possible takeover of its tour operating unit or the entire company.

Citing unnamed sources, Sky News reported over the weekend that U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co and Swedish buyout group EQT Partners were potential bidders for the group, while China’s Fosun International was understood to be among those to have lodged preliminary interest in the tour business.

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest tour operator, has brought in advisers from AlixPartners to work on its balance sheet and cost-reduction plans, while its syndicate of more than a dozen lenders has hired FTI Consulting to advise on their financial exposure to the company, the report added.

The company’s shares surged 14.4 percent to 28.05 pence in early trading in London.

Thomas Cook had put its airline business up for sale and closed stores this year, after a heat-wave in northern Europe last summer deterred holidaymakers from booking last-minute deals, leading to two profit warnings and speculation among investors that it might need to raise funds.

Thomas Cook last month announced a review of its money division in its latest step to streamline operations and focus on its core holiday business after a rough 2018 prompted profit warnings. (Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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