Westdeutsche Landesbank of Germany, the 20th-largest bank in the world, would be majority owner of a major international travel company under a merger agreement announced Tuesday.

The deal between Carlson Cos. and Thomas Cook Group, a subsidiary of the German bank, would combine Cook with Carlson's United Kingdom leisure travel business.

The U.K. company would include a fleet of 32 aircraft, 800 travel shops, and three call centers. Deal terms were not disclosed.

The enlarged Thomas Cook Group, operator of the world's largest foreign exchange office network and the biggest travelers check business outside the United States, would have annual sales approaching $43 million, more than 20,000 employees, and 3,500 company-owned and representative locations in more than 100 countries.

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