Banks poised for Thomas Cook placing

A large chunk of Arcandor’s 53% stake in Thomas Cook could be placed on the stock market as creditors scramble to claw back money from the collapse of the German retail giant.

Arcandor’s creditor banks, led by Royal Bank of Scotland, Commerzbank and Bayerische Landesbank, are considering placing of the shares after failing to find a buyer for a stake in Thomas Cook.

Sources at the banks told Reuters they had seen “considerable interest” from investors hoping for a share of Arcandor’s £780 million pound holding in Europe’s second biggest travel company.

The banks, who are being advised by UBS, issued a statement in July saying they were examining a range of options, including a placing, a sale to a single buyer or combination of the two.

The banks initially sought a sale to private equity or possibly Rewe, Germany’s third biggest tour operator, which could have sparked a bid for Thomas Cook. But an institutional placing is now the most likely outcome.


“It looks as if there are some offers coming in from strategic investors,” said one person familiar with the process. “But given the potential ease and speed of a share placement, it is the preferred option at the moment.”

Arcandor went bankrupt after failing to win a credit guarantee from the German government and last week signalled that it was ready to break itself up after failing to win new investors to keep it in one piece.

Sources said that the banks did not feel under pressure to sell, although the process was likely to conclude this autumn, regardless of whether a share placing or straight sale ensued.