China’s Fosun Tourism Group, which was aiming to spend $582 million (£450 million) rescuing Thomas Cook before its demise, has snapped up the bankrupt travel company’s brand for just $14 million (£11 million).
The deal with the company’s liquidators will also see Fosun pick up the hotel brands Casa Cook and Cook’s Club, including associated assets such as trademarks and domain names, and other related brands across most international markets.
The acquisition of the Thomas Cook brand will 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,” said Qian Jiannong, chairman of Fosun Tourism Group.
“Meanwhile, the introduction of new hotel brands will further enrich the offering of accommodation choices for tourism destinations business by the group, diversify our resort and hotel operations, and improve the Foliday ecosystem in providing customers with quality holiday experience across the globe.”
While the above comments hint at a focus on the Chinese market, Fosun’s other big tourism brand, Club Med, has a global audience, and there might be a temptation to use the Thomas Cook name in other source markets. It doesn’t sound like anything is imminent, however, with Qian stressing that the idea was to “create synergies with the existing businesses of the group.”
Fosun wasn’t the only interested party. According to Sky News, rival TUI wanted to acquire some of its intellectual property assets, although the liquidators reportedly turned down its approach.
The fight over the brand name serves as a useful reminder that despite its collapse, Thomas Cook had a lot of things going for it. Parts of the business have already found new homes including the UK retail estate and Nordic business. Condor is also still flying. It was the debt at group level as well as questionable management decisions that eventually cost it.