Christmas has come early for the founder of Gold Medal, Ken Townsley, who is to receive a £47.5 million payout from Thomas Cook for its remaining 49.99 percent stake in the tour operator and flight consolidator.
Thomas Cook bought a 50.01% stake in Gold Medal for £24.9 million from Townsley in April.
Thomas Cook has agreed to acquire the remainder of Gold Medal ahead of its call option becoming exercisable on 31 March 2010.
The group believes that additional annual synergies of £10 million will be generated from the integration of Gold Medal with other Thomas Cook scheduled businesses in the UK.
Thomas Cook Group chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa, said: “Today’s agreement to acquire the remaining stake in Gold Medal underlines our commitment to further strengthening our position in the growing independent travel sector.
He also said he had no plans to alter the operations of the firm since the acquisition, and that the jobs would be secure. Gold Medal currently employs 540 staff at its Preston call centre.
“Since we acquired a majority stake in the business almost a year ago, Gold Medal has traded exceptionally well, clearly demonstrating the strategic importance of having a strong presence in this market. We’re confident the business will continue its strong growth and to generate synergies within the Thomas Cook Group.”