The value of Cook’s shares rose nearly 20% over the Easter weekend from £0.245 to £0.290 (up 18.3%) following reports of fresh interest from Chinese minority shareholder Fosun International.
Fosun has steadily increased its stake since in the business to 17% after entering in September 2016 into a joint venture partnership with Cook to create Thomas Cook China.
Other suitors, according to Sky News, include EQT, owner of Switzerland’s Kuoni Group, and KKR, the London-based owner of Travelopia. Both firms have distanced themselves from the rumours.
Cook, meanwhile, declined to comment on the speculation when approached by TTG on Tuesday.
Its share prices remain a far cry, though, from the near £1.50 they commanded last May. Cook issued two profit warnings late last year, eventually posting a group-wide pre-tax loss of £163 million while net debt increased from £40 million to £389 million.
The operator has placed its group airline up for sale and plans to shut a further 21 retail stores, placing 320 jobs at risk, amid a shift in focus towards its digital channels and own-brand hotel operation.
Cook is due to reveal its full-year results 2018-19 next month.
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