The company was founded by Thomas Cook, a cabinet-maker, in 1841 to carry temperance supporters by railway between the cities of Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham. [6] In 1851, the founder arranged transport to the Great Exhibition of 1851. [6] He organised his first tours to Europe in 1855 and to the United States in 1865. [6] In 1865, the founder's son John Mason Cook began working for the company full time. In 1871, he became a partner, and the name of the company was changed to Thomas Cook and Son. [7] In 1884, John Mason Cook attempted to relieve General Gordon from Khartoum. 6] In 1924, the company was renamed to Thomas Cook & Son Ltd. , after acquiring a limited liability status. [7] In 1928, the business was sold to the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grandes Express Europeens, operator of the Orient Express. In 1948, it was acquired by Britain's mainline railway companies. [6] It was then bought by a consortium of Midland Bank, Trusthouse Forte and the Automobile Association in 1972 and by WestLB in 1995. [6] In 1999, it merged with Carlson Leisure. [6] In 2000, the company sold off its worldwide foreign exchange business to Travelex to concentrate on tours and holidays. 8] After the market depression, particularly following the 2001 September 11 attacks, the company started a disinvestment programme, disposing of subsidiaries and business ventures. In 2002, the company was acquired by C&N Touristic AG, a German group, who in turn changed its own name to Thomas Cook AG. [9] On 21 December 2005, Thomas Cook AG sold off Thomas Cook International Markets, a venture which includes 60% of the stake in Thomas Cook India Ltd to Dubai Financial LLC, a part of the Dubai Investment Group (DIG) which manages the financial and real estate interests of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai. 10] Then in 2006 Dubai Financial LLC acquired a license to use the Thomas Cook name in the Middle East. [11] Thomas Cook Middle East consists of the Middle East region, which has experienced a boom in travel and tourism, especially in places like Dubai, Qatar, Oman and so on. Also in 2006 Thomas Cook Canada was sold to Transat A. T. marking Thomas Cook's exit from the North American market. [12] In 2006, Thomas Cook AG became wholly owned by KarstadtQuelle. [13] In July 2010, Thomas Cook Group buys German tourism company Oger Tours, which was owned by Vural Oger. edit] MyTravel Group PLC Further information: MyTravel Group The company was founded by David Crossland in 1972 when he purchased a series of small travel agencies in Lancashire, United Kingdom. [14] The company began operating package holidays and launched its own in-house charter airline operating under the Airtours brand in the early 1980s. In 1996, Airtours purchased Scandinavian Leisure Group (SLG) including award winning tour operators such as Ving and airline Premiair. In the late 1990s, Airtours formed the North American Leisure Group, which operated several airlines and cruise lines from its offices in Canada and California, including Sunquest Air, Sunquest West and several others. [16] Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A320-200 In 2002, Airtours Group PLC rebranded under the new company-wide banner of MyTravel Group PLC. [17] This included a name change for Airtours International and Premiair to MyTravel Airways. Shops throughout Northern Europe were rebranded to MyTravel however UK retail outlets remained under the banner of Going Places. The company ran into financial difficulties in 2004 and needed to implement a debt-for-equity swap in order to restore its profitability. [18] [edit] Post-merger The merger between Thomas Cook and MyTravel was completed in June 2007. [4] On March 6, 2008, the company bought back its licence to operate the Thomas Cook Brand in the Middle East and Asia from The Dubai Investment Group for an amount estimated to be around 249 million euros. [19] The company took over Preston-based Gold Medal International, owner of NetFlights, in a deal worth ? 87 million in December 2008.