Travel major Thomas Cook India, backed by billionaire investor Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings, has acquired Swiss tourism major Kuoni's travel business in India and Hong Kong for Rs 535 crore.
Travel major Thomas Cook India, backed by billionaire investor Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings, has acquired Swiss tourism major Kuoni's travel business in India and Hong Kong for Rs 535 crore. Post the acquisition, both India and Hong Kong travel businesses will become subsidiaries of Thomas Cook and would function independently."Our acquisition of Kuoni's tour operating and retailing businesses in India and Hong Kong as well as the Indian inbound business reaffirms our belief in the India market potential, as also our strategic intent to explore viable geographies, including the larger Asia opportunity," Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO, Fairfax Financial Holdings said in a press statement.
Thomas Cook will pay Rs 320 crore for Kuoni-SOTC (Indian arm) through internal accruals and Rs 215 crore for Kuoni's Hong Kong business through a mix of debt and equity. Thomas Cook had not appointed any banker for the deal.
Currently, Kuoni-SOTC is present in outbound and inbound tour segment and also runs corporate travel business. Under the deal, Thomas Cook has also acquired Kuoni's inbound travel business Sita World Travels and the destination management arm Distant Frontiers.
The deal allows Thomas Cook the usage of Kuoni brand in India for twelve months and in Hong Kong for five years, while the SOTC brand can be used in perpetuity. The deal is expected to be complete before the end of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.
Founded in 1906, Kuoni entered India in 1997 by acquiring SOTC Tours, which was one of the pioneers of foreign tours, and later took over Sita World Travels, an inbound travel company. Kuoni offers online destination management services and visa services under the VFS brand.