EU says Thomas Cook acquisitions threaten fair competition

Hotel News - 10/01/2011

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Thomas Cook is planning to takeover a pair of travel companies. Regulators in Europe say the move will be a threat to competition in the UK.

The European Commission said that its preliminary probe concluded that competition could be seriously harmed by Thomas Cook’s latest planned acquisitions. Thomas Cook is due to take over the holiday arms of the Midlands Co-operative Society and the Cop-operative Group.

The Commission has referred the case to UK authorities. It has done so because the two co-operatives involved do not operate outside Britain. The co-operatives provide umbrellas for groups of retailers dealing with everything from food to funeral services, as well as travel agencies.

In a statement, the Commission said its preliminary review of the case confirmed worries that the proposed acquisitions pose a significant threat to competition. It said the threat would affect a distinct market that is limited to the UK.

The decisions to submit the case to authorities in London came after a request from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT is worried the business transaction could harm competition amongst holiday sales firms in Britain.

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