TUI Travel boosted by takeover talk

TUI Travel boosted by takeover talk

Shares in British-based TUI Travel have climbed sharply this morning, following speculation majority owner TUI AG is considering consolidating its position.

TUI AG – the Hanover-based parent – presently owns 57.5 per cent of its subsidiary, with Financial Times Deutschland this morning reporting a move was being considered for the remaining shares.

The newspaper declined to reveal its sources.

In response to the news, TUI Travel stock rose by 8.1 per cent to 214.1 pence on the FTSE 100 this morning, valuing the company at £2.38 billion ($3.66 billion).

The change is the steepest intraday gain since May 27th.

TUI Travel – which was formed in 2007 by the merger of First Choice Holidays and the Tourism division of TUI AG - is on the agenda of a board meeting at TUI AG scheduled for September 9th.

The UK company has lost more than 20 per cent of its value so far this year, pummelled by fallout from the global economic crisis and government budget-cutting measures.

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Hapag-Lloyd

TUI AG is also likely to discuss options for the possible sale of its stake in the Hapag-Lloyd container line.

TUI’s supervisory board will meet next week “to discuss options for the tourism business,” spokesman Robin Zimmermann told Bloomberg.

“A condition for any further development of TUI’s tourism business is the sale of the remaining stake in Hapag-Lloyd,” Mr Zimmermann added.

TUI AG confirmed its desire to sell Hapag-Lloyd to focus on the tourism business in 2008 and is presently a buyer for its remaining 43 per cent stake in Germany’s biggest container line.

TUI had net debt of 2.95 billion euros as of June 30th.