An independent travel agent chain headquartered in Sunderland, England has bought Thomas Cook’s chain of UK travel agencies, a move that could save thousands of jobs following the demise of the holiday firm last month.
Hays Travel announced Wednesday that it has acquired Thomas Cook’s store network and that it has plans to rebrand them, a move that would dissolve the 178-year-old Thomas Cook name completely.
Some 600,000 travellers, including 150,000 Brits, were left stranded around the globe last month after Thomas Cook, formerly one of the world’s oldest travel companies, failed to secure the £200 million it needed to keep its operations afloat.
READ MORE: Thomas Cook folds, thousands left stranded
The fallout led to the biggest biggest repatriation the UK has seen since World War Two as the government scrambled to fly holidaymakers back home.
Hays Travel, a former rival of Thomas Cook, was founded in 1980 and is owned by John Hays, who is the CEO of the company.
The travel company, which will almost quadruple in size following the deal, has already hired 421 former Thomas Cook employees and intends to reopen 555 Thomas Cook shops immediately, which could potentially save up to 2,500 further jobs, The Guardian reports.
“Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people,” John Hays was quoted as saying. “We look forward to working with many of them.”
The total cost and terms of the deal, which came as a surprise to many, has yet to be revealed.
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