The imminent sell-off of the last major part of the Swiss holiday giant Kuoni has left German competitor TUI rubbing its hands at the prospect of profitably divesting part of its business on the back of the deal.
Kuoni, which sold its core travel agency business to Cologne-based supermarket chain REWE in September, has now put its hotel bed agency Global Travel Distribution on the market.
A statement from the 110-year-old travel agent revealed it was in the early stages of discussions with several interested buyers. A day before the announcement, Bloomberg had already named Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners as the most promising candidate. EQT wouldn’t comment, but Kuoni’s share price briefly gained 6 percent on the news.
If the deal goes ahead as expected, it’s likely the same buyer will soon be knocking at TUI’s door. A few days ago Friedrich Joussen, the head of the Hanover-based group, put its subsidiary Hotelbeds on the list of items which could be up for sale. The €4.3 billion ($4.62 billion) turnover company offers exactly the same services as Kuoni’s GTD: Accommodation capacity to Internet hotel-booking portals, travel agencies and tour operators.
In addition, both companies offer visa services and group travel for business customers. One could say the two companies go together like palm trees and pina coladas. Mr Joussen hopes that will be attractive to potential buyers.