WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve Board gave preliminary approval Wednesday to the proposed acquisition of Midland Bank PLC by HSBC Holdings PLC, the London-based parent of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp.

Separately, Midland announced that it had agreed to sell its Thomas Cook Inc. travel service unit to Germany's West-deutsche Landesbank Girozentrale for $365 million, a move that observers said enhances the British bank's value as an acquisition target.

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