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C&N becomes market leader in France

LONDON. C&N<.>, Germany`s second largest tour operator, said on Friday it had acquired Havas Voyages

LONDON. C&N<.>, Germany`s second largest tour operator, said on Friday it had acquired Havas Voyages, its French rival, making it the leader in the French tourism market.

The widely-anticipated move, which will give C&N a 20 per cent share in France, follows its failure to enter the UK after its informal bid for Thomson Travel Group was trumped last month by Preussag, Europe`s largest tourism group.

C&N, a 50/50 joint venture between retail group Karstadt and Lufthansa, did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction, agreed with American Express, Havas Voyages` previous owner, but said the business had sales of FF6.1bn ($885.3m) last year.

Lufthansa and Karstadt are said to have approached Airtours and Thomas Cook of the UK as an alternative to Thomson Travel, eventually acquired by Preussag.

But people close to the companies this week played down chances of an imminent deal.

Analysts expressed disappointment last week when Karstadt said sales at C&N during the first five months of the year had risen by a lower-than-expected

4 per cent, dampening hopes of a pick up after a sluggish millennium period.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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