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Golden opportunity: Thomas Cook India nabs rights to the TC brand for meager $1.9 million post collapse

Thomas Cook India (TCIL) has been operating separately from the main TC brand for a few years, and was not involved in the collapse of the company. They now have rights to the brand in India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

TCIL can now use the iconic travel services brand name that they have operated for 138 years in India that enjoys high recall and strong brand equity. The agreement ensures brand use rights in perpetuity and means that TCIL can use the brand in perpetuity on a royalty-free basis This move by TCIL also prevents possible new entrants into these markets using the brand name

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, today announced it has signed an agreement with AlixPartners, Thomas Cook UK’s appointed Special Managers, to acquire the rights to the Thomas Cook brand in India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius for a killer deal: a one-time payment of GBP 1.5 Million ($1.9 million). With Thomas Cook bankrupt and in shambles, TCIL was able to nab the rights at an unbelievably low rate, while earning the rights to one of the world’s biggest travel brands post-mortem. 

TCIL was previously contracted to pay an annual brand licence fee of Rs. 20 Million ($279,271)  to TCUK until 2024 for usage of the brand.

Thomas Cook (India) Limited has operated the Thomas Cook brand name uninterrupted in India since 1881. In 2012 when TCIL was acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada, TCIL had entered into a Brand Licence Agreement with Thomas Cook Group UK for exclusive use of the brand name until 2024 across India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. The brand license agreement also gave TCIL the right of first refusal to acquire the brand in the event of the Thomas Cook UK Group going into liquidation before 2024.

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TCIL’s acquisition of the exclusive ownership of the Thomas Cook brand in these markets means:

  1. TCIL can now use the iconic travel services brand name that they have operated for 138 years in India that enjoys high recall and strong brand equity.
  2. The agreement ensures brand use rights in perpetuity and means that TCIL can use the brand in perpetuity on a royalty-free basis
  3. This move by TCIL also prevents possible new entrants into these markets, using the brand name

In addition to Thomas Cook, the Thomas Cook India Group operates B2C and B2B travel brands including SOTC, TCI, SITA, Asian Trails, Allied T Pro (ATP), Australian Tours Management (ATM), Desert Adventures, Luxe Asia, Kuoni Hong Kong, TC Travel, Private Safaris East & South Africa, Sterling Holidays and Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging (DEI), with strategic investments in Ithaka by Travel Junkie Solutions.

Following Thomas Cook UK’s sale of its entire stake in Thomas Cook India to Fairfax Financial Holdings in 2012, the Thomas Cook India Group has embarked on a significant growth and expansion strategy. Today, the Thomas Cook India Group, is one of the largest travel service provider networks headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region – spanning 29 countries and 5 continents, a team of over 9700 and a combined revenue in excess of Rs. 6718.7 Cr. (over $ 0.96 Bn.) for the financial year ended March 31, 2019.

The Thomas Cook India Group continues to remain financially strong with cash and bank deposits balances of Rs. 10,883 Mn. ($150.7 million) as of September 30, 2019. On a standalone basis Thomas Cook India is debt free. The Group generates an average annual free cash flow of around Rs. 2,000 Mn ($27.9 million).

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Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, said, “In 2012 when TCIL were acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada, we had entered into a Brand Licence Agreement with the erstwhile Thomas Cook Group of the UK to give us exclusive use of the brand until 2024 across India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius for an annual licence fee of Rs. 20 Mn. So when this very attractive investment opportunity of complete ownership of the brand name across these markets, for a onetime payment of Rs. 139 Million ($1.9 million) came up, it truly was an opportunity we had to grab!”

As one of the largest travel service provider networks headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region, The Thomas Cook India Group spans 29 countries across 5 continents, a team of over 9700 and a combined revenue in excess of Rs. 6718.7 Cr. (over $ 0.96 Bn.) for the financial year ended March 31, 2019. Of these countries is the UAE, whose customers were not affected by the Thomas Cook collapse of September