Thomas Cook and Co-op Announce Plans to Merge and Become the Largest UK Travel Agency



The merger should allow for the new company to begin doing business before the end of the year.

The merger should allow for the new company to begin doing business before the end of the year.

In a move to save around 35 million pounds a year and survive a difficult economy, two high street travel businesses have announced plans to merge services. If the merger succeeds then Thomas Cook and Co-op will join to become the largest UK travel agent and the second largest in foreign exchange. They will have a total of 1,200 shops within the new company.

Thomas Cook Group’s chief executive, Manny Fontenia-Novoa, said: ““Today’s announcement together with our plans to cut costs and streamline the rest of the UK business, will put us in a stronger position.”

The expected date of the merger is before the end of the year. The European regulatory authorities must approve the two coming together and there shouldn’t be a problem to get the approval. Both will operate under their own brand names with the only name change being that Thomas Cook’s Going Places will be renamed Co-operative Travel.

The merger has caused worry that operating cost cuts could involve a high number of staff positions being eliminated.

Co-operative Group’s chief executive, Peter Marks said: “This is really about job creation and protection, but yes of course, by combining the two head offices there will be some job losses.”

Gerry Doherty, a TSSA union leader, who represents Thomas Cook staff said: “We hope the merged company brings new business and new jobs but we are mindful what the short-term consequences could mean.”

In addition, the shop workers union, Usdaw union, has announced plans to talk with the newly formed company in an attempt to secure job position.

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