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Thomas Cook Group plc
Type Public (LSE: TCG.L)
Founded 2007
Headquarters Peterborough, England, UK
Key people Thomas Middelhoff (Chairman)
Michael Beckett (Deputy Chairman)
Manny Fontenla-Novoa (CEO)
Industry Travel
Products Package holidays
Revenue £9,268.8 million (12 months to 30 September 2009)[1]
Operating income £414.9 million (12 months to 30 September 2009)[1]
Net income £18.3 million (12 months to 30 September 2009)[1]
Employees 31,000 (2010)[2]

Thomas Cook Group plc is a travel company created on June 19, 2007 by the merger of Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group plc. At flotation on the London Stock Exchange 52% of the shares in the new company were held by the German mail order and department store corporation Arcandor (former owners of Thomas Cook AG) and 48% owned by the shareholders of MyTravel. On June 9, 2009 Arcandor filed for bankruptcy.[3] The merger, which was backed by 99.9% of shareholders, took place through the formation of 'NewCo' which effectively purchased MyTravel and Thomas Cook and was then listed on the London Stock Exchange under the name of Thomas Cook Group plc.[4] It is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.




Thomas Cook AG

The company was founded by Thomas Cook, a cabinet-maker, in 1841 to carry temperance supporters by railway between the cities of Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham.[5]

In 1851, the founder arranged transport to the Great Exhibition of 1851.[5] He organised his first tours to Europe in 1855 and to the United States in 1865.[5] In 1865, the founder's son John Mason Cook began working for the company full time. In 1871, he became a partner, and the name of the company was changed to Thomas Cook and Son.[6]

In 1884, John Mason Cook attempted to relieve General Gordon from Khartoum.[5]

In 1924, the company was renamed to Thomas Cook & Son Ltd., after acquiring a limited liability status.[6] In 1928, the business was sold to the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grandes Express Européens, operator of the Orient Express. In 1948, it was acquired by Britain's mainline railway companies.[5] It was then bought by a consortium of Midland Bank, Trusthouse Forte and the Automobile Association in 1972 and by WestLB in 1995.[5] In 1999, it merged with Carlson Leisure.[5]

In 2000, the company sold off its worldwide foreign exchange business to Travelex to concentrate on tours and holidays.[7]

After the market depression, particularly following the September 11, 2001, attacks, the company started a disinvestment programme, disposing of subsidiaries and business ventures.

In 2002, the company was acquired by C&N Touristic AG, a German group, who in turn changed its own name to Thomas Cook AG.[8]

On 21 December 2005, Thomas Cook AG sold off Thomas Cook International Markets, a venture which includes 60% of the stake in Thomas Cook India Ltd to Dubai Financial LLC, a part of the Dubai Investment Group (DIG) which manages the financial and real estate interests of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai.[9]

Then in 2006 Dubai Financial LLC acquired a licence to use the Thomas Cook name in the Middle East.[10] Thomas Cook Middle East consists of the Middle East region, which has experienced a boom in travel and tourism, especially in places like Dubai, Qatar, Oman and so on.

Also in 2006 Thomas Cook Canada was sold to Transat A.T. marking Thomas Cook's exit from the North American market.[11]

In 2006, Thomas Cook AG became wholly owned by KarstadtQuelle.[12]

MyTravel Group PLC

The company was founded by David Crossland in 1972 when he purchased a series of small travel agencies in Lancashire, United Kingdom.[13] The company began operating package holidays and launched its own in-house charter airline operating under the Airtours brand in the early 1980s.

In 1996, Airtours purchased Scandinavian Leisure Group (SLG) including award winning tour operators such as Ving and airline Premiair.[14]

In the late 1990s, Airtours formed the North American Leisure Group, which operated several airlines and cruise lines from its offices in Canada and California, including Sunquest Air, Sunquest West and several others.[15]

In 2002, Airtours Group PLC rebranded under the new company-wide banner of MyTravel Group PLC.[16] This included a name change for Airtours International and Premiair to MyTravel Airways. Shops throughout Northern Europe were rebranded to MyTravel however UK retail outlets remained under the banner of Going Places.

The company ran into financial difficulties in 2004 and needed to implement a debt-for-equity swap in order to restore its profitability.[17]


The merger between Thomas Cook and MyTravel was completed in June 2007.[4]

On March 6, 2008, the company bought back its licence to operate the Thomas Cook Brand in the Middle East and Asia from The Dubai Investment Group for an amount estimated to be around 249 million euros.[18]

The company took over Preston-based Gold Medal International, owner of NetFlights, in a deal worth £87 million in December 2008.[19]


Thomas Cook offices in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The new Thomas Cook Group PLC has seven Core Consumer Brands including Thomas Cook, Sunset, Airtours, Neckermann, Condor, Ving, Direct Holidays and My Sunquest. The company operates in five main divisions, UK, Northern Europe, North America, continental Europe, and German Airlines.[20] Of the UK operations, Thomas Cook has 14 brands in operation in its domestic market. These include Thomas Cook, Airtours, Sunset, Club 18-30, Cresta Holidays, Manos, Panorama, Direct Holidays, Neilson, Style Villa Holidays, Sunworld, Swiss Travel Services, Thomas Cook Signature and Thomas Cook Tours.

With a joint fleet, at merger, of 97 aircraft, 2,926 stores, 32,722 employees, and over 19.1 million annual customers, the new group became the second largest travel company in Europe and the UK, behind TUI Travel [21], and the largest in the Scandinavian, French, Dutch, German and North American markets.

Full integration of the two groups is expected to take up to three years. The merger brings together such brands as Airtours and Thomas Cook, Ving and Neckermann, MyTravel Airways, and Condor Airlines, amongst others. Some brand duplication is expected, for example between Escapades and Club 18-30 but most will be complementary. Thomas Cook AG did not operate directly in Northern Europe or North America while MyTravel had no operations in most of continental Europe.

Thomas Cook announced in late 2008 that the group new slogan will be "Don't just book it - Thomas Cook It", reviving one of Thomas Cook's most famous advertising campaigns from the 1980s.


Thomas Cook is a main sponsor of Manchester City and Peterborough United football clubs. On May 22, 2009, Manchester City announced that the six-year partnership with Thomas Cook would conclude at the end of the 2008/09 Premier League Season.

Thomas Cook has become a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics. As one of the UK's biggest and most popular providers of package holidays, Thomas Cook has been appointed to provide "affordable and accessible" holidays and accommodation throughout the games. Thomas Cook's CEO commented: "More than a century after Thomas Cook escorted British travellers to the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, it is a privilege to once again have the chance to give British families and sports fans the opportunity to experience such a rare and special event in their own country".


As of December 2008, Arcandor AG held a majority of the stock of the company (52.83%), with minory stakes held by Standard Life (8%) and AXA (5.07%). The remainder of the stock floats freely.[22]


  1. ^ a b c Annual Report 2009
  2. ^ Thomas Cook Group: Home page
  3. ^ "Arcandor AG Files To Open Insolvency Proceedings". 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  4. ^ a b "UK High Court backs MyTravel, Thomas Cook merger". Forbes. 2007-06-18. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Thomas Cook History
  6. ^ a b Andrew Williamson (2001). The Golden Age of Travel (Travel Heritage). Thomas Cook. ISBN 9781900341332. 
  7. ^ UK Business Park
  8. ^ C&N Touristic set to acquire Thomas Cook
  9. ^ Thomas Cook India to come under Dubai Investment Fold
  10. ^ Dubai Financial acquires licence for Thomas Cook in the Middle East
  11. ^ Transat buying Canadian Division of Thomas Cook Travel
  12. ^ Airline Finance News
  13. ^ My Travel History
  14. ^ £10m Danish buy takes Airtours to Finland
  15. ^ Airtours has set up a tour operating business in California
  16. ^ UK Business Park
  17. ^ MyTravel debt for equity swap
  18. ^ Thomas Cook buys businesses in India and Middle East
  19. ^ Thomas Cook buys Gold Medal International Manchester Evening News, 18 December 2008
  20. ^ Thomas Cook Group PLC Divisions & Brands
  21. ^ Top 50 Public sales: ATOL Holders
  22. ^ Major shareholders

External links


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