Brussels, 14 September 2010
Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Öger Tours by Thomas Cook
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of German tour operator Öger Tours GmbH by Thomas Cook Group plc of the UK. The Commission has concluded that the proposed transaction will not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Öger Tours is a German-based tour operator, which sells mainly package holidays in Germany and to a lesser extent in The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, with a strong focus on holidays in Turkey. Under the deal notified to the Commission, Thomas Cook buys the whole of Öger Tours except its wholly-owned subsidiary O&R Werbeagentur GmbH i.L and its minority share in Holiday Plan Turizm Isletmecilik ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi, a Turkish company. Thomas Cook itself is a large leisure travel group active across Europe, North America, India and Egypt
The proposed transaction will result in horizontal and vertical overlaps, in the leisure travel sector, in particular in Germany. But the Commission's investigation found that the combined market shares of the parties will be moderate, even when looking on the narrowest possible market definitions for the supply of short-haul package holidays in Turkey and the purchase of hotel accommodation for German customers in Turkey. Moreover, the parties will continue to experience strong competition from TUI, REWE, Alltours and FTI, as well as from numerous small independent package holiday operators. It is therefore unlikely that the proposed concentration will enable the parties to independently raise prices.
In light notably of the high number of competitors together with the differentiation of the products, the Commission also concluded that the proposed operation would not significantly increase the risk of coordination of prices or capacity between the main players on these markets.
Finally, the Commission concluded that the combined market position of the parties on the wholesale markets for hotel accommodation and airlines seats would not be such as to foreclose other tours operators from accessing these capacities.
In view of these findings, the Commission considered that the proposed acquisition will not harm consumers in Germany who will continue to have access to package tours at competitive prices.
The operation was notified to the Commission on 10 August 2010. More information on the case will be available at: