Turkish tourism group Anex is taking over two of Thomas Cook Germany's tour operator brands to step up its international expansion after acquiring Russia's Intourist from the insolvent British group.
In parallel, more than 100 Thomas Cook travel agencies in Germany are being sold off to department store group Karstadt. The deals, together with the planned sale of hotel brand Sentido and travel agency network Holiday Land to DER Touristik, highlight the ongoing break-up of the former number two tourism group in Germany.
Anex Group is acquiring the Thomas Cook Germany subsidiary 'Bucher Reisen & Öger Tours GmbH', which combines the two separate tour operator brands with 84 staff at offices in Hamburg and Meerbusch (near Düsseldorf), for an undisclosed price and subjective to regulatory approvals.
The takeover will make the Turkish group, which already has a small tour operator business in Germany under the Anex Tour brand, into a significant player on the German market. Öger Tours is one of Germany's biggest tour operators for Turkey and also offers holidays in Egypt and other destinations in the region. Bucher Reisen mostly sells budget-priced holidays in other Mediterranean destinations and some long-haul destinations.
Neşet Koçkar, chairman of the family-owned group, said the takeover of "these valuable brands" would generate real additional value for Anex and demonstrated its ambition to become "a global player" in the tourism industry. Anex Group, with turnover of about €2 billion, has just become the biggest tour operator in Russia with the takeover of Intourist from Thomas Cook Group.
"Anex Tour is the ideal strategic investor for these travel suppliers and fits ideally in terms of its portfolio," commented Julia Kappel-Gnirs, the provisional insolvency administrator of Thomas Cook Germany.
The brands' chiefs welcomed the takeover. Bucher boss Michael Gisbertz described it as "very good news for our highly qualified and motivated staff". Songül Göktas-Rosati, head of Öger Tours, added: "We're working as fast as possible to ensure that we can resume trading as quickly as possible in the coming weeks."
Separately, Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof is buying 106 travel agencies and the e-commerce platform Golden Gate from the insolvent tourism group, saving more than 500 jobs. The department store group already operates 100 travel agencies and will thus double the size of its travel business.
Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof chief Stephan Fanderl said the acquisition of the two Cook business activities would enable it to become 'an omnichannel travel supplier' selling holiday both online and through its travel agencies.