UK tour operator Thomas Cook is reportedly attracting interest from a number of parties about a potential takeover of all or part of the company.
Sky News, which first reported the latest development, said potential bidders included Chinese tourism giant Fosun, which already has a minority stake. EU rules prevent those from outside the bloc owning more than 49.9 percent of an airline, so it might mean buying the tour operating part of Thomas Cook only.
Private equity firms are also thought to be in the mix.
Skift understands from sources that the interest is at a very early stage and a long way from a formal offer.
The firm said earlier this year that it was launching a strategic review of its in-house airline. Lufthansa has expressed a tentative interest in taking over German carrier Condor.
Thomas Cook has endured a torrid 12 months with continuing Brexit uncertainty adding to the problem of last year’s European heatwave. Its lenders are so concerned that they have hired FTI Consulting to assess their financial exposure to Thomas Cook, the report said.
CEO Peter Fankhauser is due to speak at Skift Forum Europe on April 30 in London.
A cabinet-maker called Thomas Cook organized his first excursion in 1841 and in the proceeding 178 years the company that became Thomas Cook Group has had a number of different owners including Midland Bank and German retailer KarstadtQuelle.
Skift did not hear back from both Thomas Cook and Fosun after reaching out for comment.