Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Sun Shines for Thomas Cook despite Major Shareholder's Woes; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Sun Shines for Thomas Cook despite Major Shareholder's Woes; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

Byline: Rosamund Urwin

THOMAS Cook shares enjoyed a day in the sun today despite its controlling shareholder filing for bankruptcy protection.

The rise came thanks to Rewe, Germany's third-biggest tour operator, which said it would be interested in snapping up Arcandor's 52.8% stake in the package holidays group if it goes up for sale. Cook's shares, which had been the Footsie's biggest dud on fears for its parent company, recovered to be the index's biggest winner, up almost 7% or 143/4p at 229p.

Arcandor, the German retail giant that holds a 52.8% stake in the holidays group, told the German government that it has abandoned a last-ditch appeal for state aid and instead has filed for insolvency. Sector watchers say the stake could be sold to a single party or placed in the market, or there could even be a management buyout at Thomas Cook.

The gains came despite Cazenove's attempts to rain on the parade. The Queen's stockbroker advised clients to "take a break" from Cook and rival Tui Travel, 1p stronger at 2471/4p, amid concerns next year will be tougher.

Shares in London lost much of their early gains to trade only slightly higher, with the FTSE up 14.26 points at 4419.489. Trading volumes were exceptionally light for a second day, meaning the benchmark yoyo-ed between the red and the black.

Investors said hasta la vista to Pearson's shares today as Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, unveiled plans to do away with school textbooks to save cash. Shares in the publisher of educational tomes and the Financial Times sank 171/2p to 6191/2p. The sell-off came despite Citigroup stressing that Pearson should gain market share from the initiative, and that it will result in steadier income flows and lower costs for the company. For the last decade, Pearson has been moving away from the textbooks model, and Citi reckons its rivals are far less prepared for the changes in the market than it is.

Step off a plane in Shanghai, and you may soon be greeted with a familiar sight: a London black cab. Taxi maker Manganese Bronze today said it would raise [pounds sterling]9. …

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