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Thomas Cook name to live on after brand buyout by Fosun, as liquidators rebuff TUI offer  

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Fosun Tourism Group has agreed to buy Thomas Cook’s name and related hotel brands for £11 million ($20.6 million).

Hong Kong-based Fosun Tourism Group, the parent company of Club Med, said on Friday it would acquire the trademarks, brand names, software applications, and licenses of the collapsed British travel firm.

Fosun has reportedly insisted it does not plan to acquire any of the 178-year-old company’s overseas assets for the time being, as part of its brand acquisition.

Fosun Tourism chairman Qian Jiannong said the acquisition would 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”, according Reuters.

Travel Weekly has contacted Fosun Tourism for comment.

The announcement came just days after it was revealed TUI had made an offer to buy Thomas Cook’s internet domain name.

According to a report by Sky News UK, TUI is said to have been interested in owning Thomas Cook’s URL because of “long-standing” confusion among its customers between the collapsed tour operator and Thomson, which was counted within the TUI brand two years ago.

Sources close to the process told Sky News UK that AlixPartners, the joint liquidator working alongside KPMG, had rejected TUI’s interest on the basis that the travel company did not want to own the Thomas Cook brand outright.

KPMG is currently managing the liquidation of Thomas Cook, after the travel firm collapsed in late September, following perceived failures in leadership that affected its ability to adapt and compete with online rivals.

In August, Fosun Tourism, which was formerly Thomas Cook’s largest shareholder, had reportedly offered to contribute £450 million in return for a majority stake in Thomas Cook’s tour operator business, as well as 25 per cent of its airline.

This came as part of £1.1 billion refinancing plan to allow the company to trade over the winter 2019/20 season and the flexibility to invest in the business for the future that was rejected by the British Government.

In October, KPMG oversaw the sale of Thomas Cook’s 555 High Street shops to Hays Travel, which has also employed nearly 2,000 of Thomas Cook’s ex-employees and reopened nearly 200 of its shops so far.

The pair have previously said they can make a success of the business, with co-owner John Hays describing the move as “a game-changer” for Hays Travel.

To get up to date with Travel Weekly’s ongoing coverage of the Thomas Cook saga, click here.

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