U.K. travel firm Hays to buy stores from defunct Thomas Cook
People walk past a closed Thomas Cook travel shop in London, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
LONDON -- British firm Hays Travel says it will buy all 555 U.K. stores operated by defunct tour company Thomas Cook, which collapsed last month.
Hays says it will offer jobs to hundreds of Thomas Cook employees.
David Chapman, the official receiver handling the winding up of Thomas Cook, said Wednesday that the deal "represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realize the company's assets."
The debt-laden, 178-year-old company collapsed last month, leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded around the world and 21,000 employees, including 9,000 in the U.K., facing unemployment.
Some 150,000 British travellers were flown home at government expense in the biggest repatriation effort since World War II.