Cook shares leap on takeover speculation

Cook shares leap on takeover speculation

Shares in Thomas Cook jumped yesterday amid City rumours of a possible takeover of Europe’s second largest travel group.

The stock closed almost 23% higher on Wednesday at 28.25p.

Following the decision to suspend its annual results and seek extended bank loans last November Cook's shares had been languishing at around the 13p mark. However, its shares have increased by more than 42% in the last month.

No names have been mentioned as potential suitors or partners for Cook and some City commentators are unconvinced that a buyer is lurking in the wings.

They argue that the price rise is a product of the current mergers and acquisitions atmosphere stock markets are experiencing.

Peel Hunt analysts, while not ruling a takeover out completely, said such a move was very unlikely, the Financial Times reported.

Thomas Cook is expected to announce the identity of its new chief executive this month following the resignation last summer of Manny Fontenla-Novoa.

In February it was reported that first round interviews had been completed and internal contender Michael Friisdahl, who currently heads up Cook's north American division, was tipped as a likely successor.

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