“Don’t just book it… Thomas Cook it” was the business tagline used by the company which signifies its prestige in the tourism industry. Being the world’s oldest travel brand, the company started its operation way back in 1841 and in the subsequent years, it continued on its conquering sprees in the global market. With a magnificent history of 178 years, the travel titan was one of the Victorian brands that bravely survived the ferocious world wars, depressing recessions, hostile takeovers, and reorganizations and even having a Robert Maxwell as a major shareholder. The company didn’t restrict itself to tour operations but also entered the business of airlines, hotels, local transports, and meals.

On 23 September, 2019, the travel giant with such a prosperous legacy filed for bankruptcy triggering a heartbreaking domino effect of sudden job losses and shocks not only to the employees but also to the customers. Huge outstanding debt of 1.7 billion pounds and liquidity crunch were called the causes of downfall but in truth, the tour operator’s woes go back much further – victim of a devastating merger, incompetence of the executives, internet revolution and the BREXIT uncertainty, a final nail in the coffin.

Thomas Cook had an analog business model in the digital world that insisted on physical stores called as ‘High Street’ for sales of the tours and packages. The Hercules failed to analyze the dynamics of the business environment, in turn, failed to pitch a new generation of travelers. Over and above these high maintenance stores, it faced a robust competition from the online travel company, Expedia.

The tour operator offered package tours to the customers which gradually declined in popularity with the advent of technology and information access to the customers. People shifted their consumption patterns from predefined plans to more user-defined adventurous tours. The new generation with access to the internet could easily learn about cheap tickets and new locations. Package tours were seasonal; yet again were a major risk to Cook’s business model was posed by the risk of season failure. This challenge was not new for Thomas Cook.

This UK based company followed an aggressive expansion policy and in the 2000s absorbed Condor, Frankfurt-based airline that was formerly a subsidiary of the Lufthansa group. In 2003 it started its airline, Thomas Cook airline, with 34 planes in the fleet flying to 82 destinations. As Richard Branson, rightly quoted, “If you want to be Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline”. The airline industry has its complexities and sunk cost which incentivizes big names to stay away from it. Thomas Cook faced difficulties in sustaining the sunk cost and operational cost of crew, maintenance, etc. Germany based rival, TUI Group started operating in cruises and hotels; also witnessed strategic benefits from the competitors’ downfall. Low-cost carriers RYANAIR, EasyJet and low-cost accommodation by Airbnb magnified the misfortunes of the company.

Market obligated payments and aviation fuels expenditure in dollars became expensive when pound started depreciating because of geopolitical tension from BREXIT. Inevitably, perhaps, Britain’s political crisis already cast a shadow on the company’s demise. Heatwaves in the homeland and uncertainty of the visas, driving license stimulated Brits to postpone holidaying.

The merger with ‘My Travel’ way back in 2007 to save 75 million pounds turned out to be a disaster and they had to write off loses worth one billion pounds. Turkey and Tunisia, the most preferred travel destinations dealt with geopolitical tension abandoning tourism, yet again a major setback for the business.

The collapse has jeopardized the future of 21000 employees out of which 9000 are from the UK itself. More than 6 lakh travelers are affected and stuck in their respective destinations. The British government instead of stepping in and giving Thomas Cook breathing space has launched the biggest peacetime repatriation for the citizens in British history. The government does not want to set an example of moral hazard by injecting funds in the debt-laden operator. The company secured credit of 900 million pounds and wanted 200 million pounds more which when denied set off the collapse.

No sooner did the moratorium on the street trigger the fall in the stock and beleaguered the Thomas Cook India than the company’s executive clarified that they have a strong financial position and have no connection with the UK based company. Fairfax Financial Holding, a Canadian MNC led by an Indi-Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa acquired the Indian arm in 2012.

Businesses have moved from bricks to clicks and paced up with innovation in technology. This episode has been a great learning opportunity as it highlighted the fact that a business irrespective of its age, size, goodwill needs to change with time and should continuously monitor the business environment so that one can make strategic moves for sustaining the business in the long runs.


Ayush Agarwal
[email protected]

Examining the strategic disinvestment policies of the government, their relevance and otherwise

On November 20th this year, the government announced that it would sell stakes in several public sector undertakings (PSUs) and even give up management control in some. The Central government will cede full management control to buyers in the case of oil marketing company Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR). The government will transfer its 74.2% stake in THDC India Limited (formerly Tehri Hydro Development Corporation of India) and its 100% stake in North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) to another public sector unit and power distribution major, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited.

On the one hand, it is the government’s role to encourage and facilitate a business environment that is conducive to economic growth, and at the same time the competence of the government does not lie in earning profits by the sale of public goods such as coal, steel and power. In tune with its welfare motives, the government always has to spend more than it can earn in terms of revenue through taxes or other means. Hence, additional income from the sale of a stake or disinvesting in a PSUs, tends to be a welcome move for its coffers. This is especially so in the case of India, where it has fallen on to the government to spend high amounts on infrastructure to boost economic growth as well as to deal with its existing expenditure on the health and education sectors.

Historically, since the 1991 era of LPG in the country (liberalisation, privatisation, globalisation) under the PV Narasimha Rao government, there has been an on-off trend of disinvestment in the country’s policies. Arun Shourie, the country’s first Disinvestment Minister in 2006, gave an impetus to the exercise. He is credited with the privatisation of Maruti, Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd., Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited and Hindustan Zinc through the strategic sale process. Even when the Vajpayee government had ceded ownership of a handful of public sector undertakings (PSUs) to private buyers in 2001-02, the move had been met with unrelenting criticism for its pricing and choice of buyers for the exercise. 

The proceeds from strategic sales give the government an extra spending cushion. This fiscal has been a ‘year without precedent’ for the government on the fiscal front. The Reserve Bank of India gave the Central government a record dividend payout of about ?1.76 lakh crore. The joy over this would have been short-lived as the government has had to execute a corporate tax cut — to mitigate the effects of a slowdown — and will suffer an annual loss of ?1.45 lakh crore, according to The Hindu.

So at least meeting the year’s disinvestment target, if not exceeding it, would give the government some respite from the string of bad fiscal news that has been flowing its way.


Private owners have an incentive to minimize costs as long as they reap part of the benefit in the form of higher profit. By contrast, if the bureaucrats running the PSUs do a bad job, the losers are the taxpayers and customers, whose only recourse is the political system. Put simply, a way of ensuring that firms are efficiently run, the voting booth is a less reliable option than the profit motive. 


Feature Image Credits: NTPC Limited


Bhavya Pandey 

[email protected] 


The business part of any venture witnesses the most extreme of situations. There are companies which face the ruthless tyranny of a buyout while some thank their stars when saved by acquisitions. Whatever the path may be, cruel or rewarding, it always ends in consolidation of industry. Suffice it to say, the ‘A’ and ‘B’ always lead to ‘C’. So, here is a list of ‘A’s and ‘B’s this year, some of which lead to the ‘C’ of that industry:

1. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn

While Facebook and Google are thought of as cool kids on the block, Microsoft has always ensured that its identity remains like that of men in suits in the tech world. And its latest acquisition, for a whooping amount of $26.2 billion, further strengthens that image. Being a highly professional organisation, Microsoft acquiring a professional social network wasn’t surprising at all. The LinkedIn social network will be quite helpful in taking the MS Office suite to the next level, adding a social component to the work, thereby connecting professionals and their work more effectively. Also, Lynda.com, a website which offers tutorials was acquired by LinkedIn some time back, which Microsoft sees as an opportunity.



2. Dell merges with EMC

If you thought $19.3 for WhatsApp was high, then this will blow your mind. Dell, the computer multinational behemoth, has acquired EMC, a computer storage company for the highest amount ever in the tech world for $67 billion. Yes! You read it right, it’s 67 billion. The merger has started and will take some time to complete. The effects and verdict of this merger will probably be visible to us by 2017 or 2018. A lot of things, from policies to name, from logos to software design, will change. Only time will tell the verdict of this expensive marriage.









3. Verizon buys the struggling Yahoo!

What once was a company valued at over a $100 billion, got sold at an amount of $4.8 billion. Verizon, the telecom giant acquired Yahoo, which had been fighting for survival for quite some time now. The deal includes the real estate and some intellectual property of the company but doesn’t include the valuable stake of Alibaba group in the company. With this deal, Verizon can go head to head against Google and Facebook in the field of advertisement.

Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Verizon_Logo_2015.jpg









4. Myntra buys Jabong

Flipkart owned Myntra acquires Jabong for $70 million. This move is one of those that will consolidates the e-commerce market in India today. Flipkart has made a statement that it still is one of the key players in the business and is here to stay. With Jabong and Myntra, Flipkart has gained the majority in terms of fashion e-commerce. With this buyout, Flipkart and Amazon are currently the two major pillars while Snapdeal and others are in supporting roles.


Source: stuffled.com

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Myntra-Logo.png





Image credits: commons.wikimedia.org

Featured image credits: http://stuffled.com/vector/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2014/06/Jabong- Logo-EPS- vector-image.png

Kavach Chandra

[email protected]

Start-ups are the order of the day, business acumen has never been more ubiquitous in students and wall street  is a maniacal obsession.

It is only obvious then that the corporate world, the stock market hold a special intrigue for us and entrepreneurship as an idea that thrills us beyond words. Movies are the best way to bring the economic and commercial world to the masses. Here’s a hand-picked list of visual delights to watch.

  1. Inside Job

Shocking portrayal of the most significant global economic crisis, this movie churns out a plethora of business insights.  Everyone was responsible, from the financial institutions to the business leaders and government organizations.

  1. The Social Network

This haunting account of the rise and fall and rise of Facebook is more than just a documentation of the history of this epic company. It leaves you wondering how friendships and connections can go sour, and whether one is ready to pay the price for it, if you get to become a billionaire.

  1. Wall Street

This is a classic among business students. Although based in a technologically inferior time than ours, its essence remains relevant even today. The charm of trading and stock brokerage never dies.  Insider trading, greed, ambition, and questionable loyalties make it worth your time.

  1. Other people’s Money

This movie is your guide to a hostile takeover bid. If you believe that celluloid heroes and villains are accurate depictions of the real life, you’re in for a treat. The realistic story is relevant, and the liquidator’s ruthlessness is intimidating.

  1. Barbarians at the Gate

Yet another classic, the intrigue begins with its title itself. It is based on a true story, and the inevitable battle of aggressive business tactics will have you hooked.

  1. Margin Call

This is a relatively recent flick, and the storyline is refreshing. Now that the US financial crisis hurts a little less, we may as well watch the documentation of the fall of Lehman Brothers.

It has been called “the best wall street movie made till date”. Need we explain more?

Do watch these tales of morality to conspiracy theories to David-and-Goliath fables and get that kick of inspiration.

Featured Image Credits:  www.forbes.com

Kritika Narula

[email protected]

Business Conclave 2014, SRCC’s annual undergraduate management festival kicked off with the Sri Ram Memorial Oration on 5th February. Last year the event was the center of attention with Narendra Modi as the keynote speaker. This edition of Conclave saw Honorable Finance Minister Sri P. Chidambaram deliver the opening address to a packed auditorium at the Sri Ram College of Commerce. Whether it was the introduction of the chief guest in Tamil or the crowds cheering for the Union president Seerat Gupta, the oration kept the audience entertained. The issue that was addressed was that of ‘Accelerating India’s Growth’.

“42,800 people admit to an income of Rs 1 crore in India. I think I can find 42.900 people with Rs 1 crore in South Delhi alone.” – P. Chidambaram at SRCC. Image Credit: Mehr Gill for DU Beat

He talked about the challenges and opportunities that India faces as a nation. Through the course of his speech he addressed all the problems that plague our country and at the same time illustrated how we have a chance to capitalize on what we have. The idea that he emphasized was that we are the biggest obstacle in our path and that we do not need to look across the border to find the cause behind our failure. The obstacles he addressed were rising inequality, the ‘not in my backyard syndrome’, middle class stagnation and unwillingness to work for the greater good of society. He further talked about competition and how we must all now comply with the global standard.

Mark It Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS) held its annual marketing fest- Excelsior 2.0 on January 30 and 31, 2014. The event started with five rounds of prelims being held in different colleges of the university. The top 150 participants were pitted against in three grueling competitions (Best Manager, Best Marketer and Best Entrepreneur) at Patel Chest, North Campus. Each of the three competitions had two different rounds of selection- a written test and a group discussion, followed by multiple tasks on the two main days.

Best Marketer, Excelsior’s flagship competition, tested the contestants managerial acumen from crisis management to stress interviews.

Best Marketer challenged the potential future marketing honchos to come up with multiple marketing strategies and ideas through various rounds including group discussions and case studies.

Best Entrepreneur tested the strategic entrepreneurial skills through B-Plan developments and numerous other tasks.
In addition to the stress interview and crisis management rounds, an Ad-Mad competition was held which was open to all and gave away cash prizes amounting to Rs. 5,000. The highlight of the event was a special auction held at the end of Day 1. Managers and Entrepreneurs were divided into teams of two on random basis and were ask to bid for 90 American cities. Each team had a total of 20,000 dollars and was required to make a combination of cities from resource pools, recreational centers and commercial districts. Students who qualified on the first day were then given an overnight task.

After two extremely trying days, the winners walked away with cash prizes worth Rs. 60,000. The winners emerged as follows:
Milind Vaish, SSCBS- The Global Duce (Best Manager)
Shreshth Narula, SSCBS- The Global Tycoon (Best Entrepreneur)
Parul Duggal- the Global Chandler (Best Marketer)

A proud winner, Milind had the following to say, “I am delighted that I was adjudged the best manager. The tasks were brilliantly conceptualized and all the participants were very talented.”