Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd will buy Thomas Cook Group Plc’s 77% stake in its India operations for about $150 million, as the UK holiday firm continues to pay down its debt.
Property and casualty insurer Fairfax’s unit Fairbridge Capital will pay Rs50 per share of Thomas Cook (India) Ltd for a total of Rs8,174 million.
The offer represents an 18% discount to Thomas Cook India’s closing price of Rs61.05 on Monday on the National Stock Exchange.
In February, Thomas Cook confirmed that it was seeking a buyer for its stake in its Indian unit in an effort to reduce its £890 million debt.
Fairfax’s CEO Prem Watsa, a value investor whose approach and acumen is sometimes compared to Warren Buffett’s, said Madhavan Menon will continue as Thomas Cook India’s CEO.
Watsa, an Indian-born Canadian investor who took control of Fairfax in 1985, also sits on the board of Research in Motion and holds a 19% interest in pulp and paper company Abitibibowater.