February 15, 2008: Thomas Cook, Europe’s second-largest holiday firm, has bought hotel booking website, hotels4U.com, for about £25 million, in a bid to up its presence within the competitive online travel market.
Thomas Cook said that Haim Perry, the managing director and founder of Hotels4U, and its finance director, Jacky Bedlow, had agreed to reinvest about £3 million of the proceeds from the sale.
Hotels4U, which claims to have half a million customers, features more than 30,000 hotels and is the UK’s largest independent “bed bank”.
Manny Fontenla-Novoa, group chief executive of Thomas Cook, said: “This is an acquisition that fits perfectly with our strategy of enhancing Thomas Cook’s position in the independent travel sector and will also further strengthen our mainstream business.”
He said the company was benefiting from a “more stable” market, resulting from a sensible approach to capacity from the main tour operators. He said the company expected to have far fewer summer holidays to sell in the so-called lates market, which meant prices would remain firm.