LONDON -- Thomas Cook Group Ltd. announced an agreement to acquire the travelers check subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC.

The Barclays unit, Interpayment Services Ltd., is the largest issuer of Visa Travelers Cheques, and Thomas Cook's program is closely allied with that of MasterCard International.

Thomas Cook, which is controlled by Westdeutsche Landesbank of Germany, said it intended to keep its Visa and MasterCard businesses in separate units, with the Thomas Cook-MasterCard brand remaining intact.

The combined operation -- including the MasterCard, Visa, and Euro Travellers Cheque International brands -- would comprise 30% of the $54 billion global travelers check market, Cook said. American Express has a 44% market share-and Citicorp 12%.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.