Trio of buyers rescues Thomas Cook's Nordic business


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STOCKHOLM/COPENHAGEN, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Norwegian investor Petter Stordalen and private equity firms Altor and TDR Capital have agreed to buy the Nordic business of collapsed travel company Thomas Cook.

Thomas Cook Northern Europe, also known as the Ving Group, said at the time of Thomas Cook's liquidation in September that it was looking for a buyer and this week said it had attracted several bids.

"We have secured a little more than 6 billion (Swedish) crowns ($617 million)," billionaire property tycoon Stordalen said at a presentation to media and staff on Wednesday, referring to new liquidity and guarantees.

"Competition was rock hard to get in here, but we were the only group to work on a reconstruction that would secure one solution for all."

His comments drew cheers from the employees present.

Stordalen's Strawberry group and Altor will each take a 40% stake in the business, with TDR Capital buying the remaining 20%, the parties said in a joint statement.

"It has been a very complex affair and has happened very fast," said Ving Group CEO Magnus Wikner.

"For us it was incredibly important to find an owner that has the strategic competence and financial strength to become a good, long-term owner for us."

Thomas Cook Northern Europe, which employs about 2,300 people, owns Nordic travel agencies Ving, Globetrotter, Spies, Tjareborg, carrier Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and a number of hotel brands.

($1 = 9.7302 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen Editing by David Goodman)

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