Months in the making since the announcement last January that Zurich-based Kuoni was selling off its tour operator and agency locations in Europe, the announcement came last week that the REWE Group, which is headquartered in Cologne, Germany, is acquiring the block of businesses, which include 34 Kuoni-branded agencies and assorted specialist travel entities in the UK alone. The transaction also includes tour operations in Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Benelux region. The Kuoni brand in Switzerland will still be owned by the Kuoni Group, which continues to look for a buyer for its remaining tour operating activities in India, Hong Kong and China by the end of 2015.
Kuoni is the oldest tour operator in continental Europe—it was established more than a century ago—and the company’s holdings still include some well-known brands and operations such as NYC-based AlliedTPro, one of the largest receptive tour operators in the U.S. The REWE group is better known in Europe as owner of a supermarket conglomerate: According to Supermarket News, it is among the Top 25 Worldwide Food Retailers, with 2014 sales of $67.2 billion at its more than 11,000 stores in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Its travel brands include some of the Germany’s best known: Dertour, Meier’s Weltreisen, ITS and Jahn Reisen.
It is anticipated that the acquisition, which is subject to the approval of the competition authorities in the EU and Switzerland, should be completed by the end of Q3 this year.