(Yicai Global) Nov. 4 -- Fosun Tourism Group has struck a deal to acquire the Thomas Cook brand for GBP11 million (USD14.2 million) from the 178-year-old British travel giant which collapsed two months ago.
The Fosun International subsidiary will acquire the trademarks, domain names, software, social media accounts, licensing, ownership and worldwide interests belonging to the Thomas Cook brand and its marque hotel chains Casa Cook and Cook's Club, the buyer said in a statement on Nov. 1.
Thomas Cook Group employed 22,000 staff at its hotels, resorts, airlines and cruise ships in 16 countries before going bankrupt in September as Brexit uncertainty led to a decline in bookings and higher fuel prices. It had over GBP1.2 billion (USD1.6 billion) in net debt as of the end of March.
Fosun has always been optimistic about Thomas Cook's brand value, said Chairman Qian Jiannong, adding that the acquisition will help the China-based company expand its tourism business by pairing the name with China's strong demand for outbound tourism.
A larger portfolio of hotel brands will also allow Fosun to enrich its accommodation offerings in more tourism destinations and enhance its business ecosystem, Qian said. He plans to put the new brands to work as soon as possible.
Thomas Cook was struggling largely due to management issues and an old-school approach to business, Fosun's statement said, adding that the website receives 900 million page views a year so is clearly still valued by consumers.
The buyer already held an 11.4 percent stake in the company at the end of June, according to its mid-year financial report. It had attempted to bail the firm out of crisis earlier this year but was unable to come to an agreement with creditors.
The two companies also have a joint venture in China that is majority owned by Fosun and was unaffected by Thomas Cook's insolvency.
Editors: Tang Shihua, James Boynton