Thomas Cook gets CCI nod for acquisition of Kuoni Travel

Tour operator Thomas Cook (India) Ltd has received approval from the competition watchdog Competition Commission of India for the acquisition of Kuoni Group's travel & tour business in India and Hong Kong, it said on Friday.

Thomas Cook had announced in August this year that it will acquire Kuoni group's business in India and Hong Kong for Rs 535 crore ($84 million).

“With the approval of CCI, we aim at a swift disclosure of the acquisition of Kuoni Travel. We see strong synergies and benefits accruing from Kuoni's well-established presence in India along with SOTC – garnering strong brand recall as well as multiple avenues to grow our respective business and create valuable business opportunities together,” Thomas Cook (India) managing director Madhavan Menon said.

Thomas Cook will operate Kuoni's business in the region independently after bringing on board all the 1,800 employees of the firm.

This marks a back-to-back India- related deal for Canadian financial services major Fairfax having sewn a deal to buy a majority stake in agri-warehousing firm National Collateral Management Services Ltd and another one to acquire a large stake in IIFL Holdings (formerly India Infoline). Fairfax owns majority stake in Thomas Cook.

Thomas Cook, which is in the travel and tour business, has also been actively acquiring firms in its own business. In July, it had also acquired Sri Lanka-based Luxe Asia, a destination management firm, for an undisclosed amount.

Fairfax as a group had acquired majority stake in Thomas Cook India three years ago and has been using it as a platform to buy other business services firms. It first routed its acquisition of IKYA Group, earlier a HR services firm, through Thomas Cook and has since rebranded IKYA as Quess Corp Ltd and has struck multiple acquisitions in India and abroad to diversify it into a business support services company. Quess Corp is evaluating an IPO in the near future.

Fairfax India raised $1.06 billion early this year through an IPO in Toronto Stock Exchange with anchor investment from Fairfax to invest in India.

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