DEBT-RIDDEN Thomas Cook is facing a takeover bid from China — leaving 21,000 staff at the British holiday giant fearing for their jobs.
Fosun Tourism Group, the biggest shareholder, is in talks to buy its tour operating business in a deal that would end 178 years of the UK firm’s independence.
But experts say the move may be good for holidaymakers by keeping competition healthy on the high street and online.
The firm, Britain’s oldest tour operator, was formed in 1841 offering day-trips by train.
It became a world leader and served 22 million sunseekers in 2018 yet posted a £1.5billion half-year loss last month. Shares fell 40 per cent and customers flooded its Facebook page with fears over upcoming trips.
Sun Travel Editor Lisa Minot said: “Its huge network of shops has been hit hard by online travel agents and the astonishing rise of Jet2 which now sells more holidays.”
TSSA union chief Manuel Cortes said: “Thomas Cook has been an integral part of the British high street for decades.
“These are very worrying times for our members.”
Fosun may bid in weeks but EU rules bar any deal for its airline arm.
Thomas Cook did not comment.