German group REWE has acquired Swiss Kuoni's European travel activities, which means travel agencies like Koning Aap, Shoestring and specialty travel agency YourWay2Go have now become part of the German company.
Kuoni ceases its travel operating business
The sale doesn't come as a surprise: at the start of the year, Kuoni had revealed its intentions to halt its travel operating business, both as a tour operator and as a travel agency group. It wishes to focus on its activities as a travel industry service provider.
DER Touristik, REWE group's tourist branch, has become the new owner of Kuoni's travel agencies in the Benelux, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Switzerland, but it now also owns the Scandinavian Novair airline and the family and sports resort Las Playitas in Fuertaventura. DER Touristik will also welcome another 2,350 employees as they all transfer to the new company. Kuoni itself will have to accept a 180 million Swiss francs (172 million euro) loss on the deal.
The Swiss and European anti-trust authorities still have to approve the deal, but it is expected everything will be in order by the third quarter of 2015.
REWE now services 7.7 million passengers
Once the deal is finalized, Der Touristik's turnover will grow from 5 billion to 7 billion euro and a passenger growth to 7.7 million customers. All in all, the Germans mainly expect more leverage for their own purchase deals thanks to its larger size and scale.
REWE will be allowed to use the Kuoni brand name in Switzerland and Great Britain, but will not become the owner of the brand name, unlike the other brands which will all become REWE's property. Kuoni is now looking for another buyer, so that it can offload its travel activities in China, India and Hong Kong.