Thomas Cook and Co-op Travel merger faces OFT probe

Thomas Cook shop The two firms will retain their separate branding

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate a move by Thomas Cook and the Co-operative Group to merge their High Street travel businesses.

The European Commission had initially looked at the deal, announced in October, to create the largest travel store network in the UK.

But it has handed the review to the OFT because it only affects UK businesses.

Thomas Cook said it would "continue to work closely with the OFT to obtain a rapid clearance".

Under the plans, both Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel will retain their separate branding across about 1,200 stores.

The firms hope the merger will create annual savings of more than £35m across the two firms.

And at the time the deal was announced, Thomas Cook admitted the deal could mean "hundreds" of job cuts as some stores closed.

Thomas Cook's online operation is not included in the merger with Co-operative Travel.

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