Thomas Cook Co-op merger gets go-ahead

Co-op and Thomas Cook are to create the UK’s largest high street travel agent after the Competiton Commission gave the green light to their proposed joint venture today (16 August).

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The approval sanctions a merger between Thomas Cook, The Co-operative Group’s travel division and The Midlands Co-operative Society’s high street travel agent businesses, creating a company with an estate of 1,240 travel agent stores.

The announcement confirms provisional findings published last month which ruled the new venture was not likely to reduce competition in the high street package holiday market.

The merger is likely to trigger changes in the marketing teams at the three brands to avoid duplication of roles. Thomas Cook’s UK & Ireland retail chief executive Ian Derbyshire recently left to join his family child activity centre business, shortly after the departure of Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa.

Derbyshire’s departure was planned for earlier this year but he stayed to see through the CC investigation. Former managing director of sales Simon Robinson is taking over as leader for the joint venture when the deal is completed, which is expected to be in early October.

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