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Triton in fresh bid to land Thomas Cook’s Nordic arm

The investment firm which tried to buy Thomas Cook’s Nordic operations before the British travel operator’s collapse last month has embarked on a fresh attempt to land a takeover deal.

Sky News has learnt that Triton Partners is in advanced talks about acquiring Thomas Cook’s Scandinavian business, which holds market-leading status – or close to it – in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Sources said that Triton, which owns the rival travel company Sunweb, was hoping to wrap up a deal in the coming days, although they cautioned that a formal agreement had yet to be struck.

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Thomas Cook stores saved by Hays Travel

Thomas Cook’s Nordic operations trade under the brands Ving, Tjareborg and Spies, and collectively employ roughly 20% of what was a 21,000-strong workforce before the London-listed group was forced into liquidation after rescue talks failed.

The collapse of Thomas Cook triggered the largest-ever peacetime repatriation of British citizens, with more than 150,000 holidaymakers flown back to the UK during a two-week operation run by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Discussions about the deal with Triton are understood to be being led by the management of Thomas Cook’s northern Europe division.

The operation is profitable and was not part of the insolvency process initiated last month, although a number of its aircraft were temporarily grounded as it sought a loan to keep it detached from its 178 year-old parent.

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If a deal can be concluded, it would represent the second major transaction involving part of Britain’s oldest tour operator.

Last week, the family-owned Hays Travel swooped to buy Thomas Cook’s British retail operations in a deal that could salvage as many as 2500 jobs.

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Triton had originally engaged in talks with Thomas Cook in May about the Nordic deal, and tried again to prise the business out of the group in the days leading up to its parent’s collapse.

As a shareholder in the Scandinavian operation, the Official Receiver would be entitled to a share of the proceeds from any disposal, although further details of a sale to Triton were unclear on Monday.

News of the latest prospective deal comes just before MPs begin an investigation into Thomas Cook’s collapse, with former executives due to appear in front of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee on Tuesday.

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