does not own because it lacks the funds and has little prospect of raising money on equity markets, given it trades at a hefty discount to peers, one of the sources said.
One of the sources also said cost savings from such a deal could reach 500 million euros, although some analysts have put the figure much lower, at around 100 million.
Any costs savings would be welcomed by TUI Travel, which returned to Britain's FTSE 100 benchmark stock index in December. Over the next few years analysts expect austerity measures to hold back demand for leisure travel across Europe.
"Our model assumes TUI Travel's tour package revenues remain essentially flat over the next five years," said Morningstar analyst Dan Su.
TUI Travel was formed in 2007 after the merger of TUI AG's travel business and Britain's First Choice. TUI AG has hotels and luxury cruise operations and is looking to sell its remaining interest in shipper Hapag-Lloyd.
The statement from TUI AG means that under UK takeover rules it is not allowed to make an offer for TUI Travel within the next six months. It had been given a deadline of close of business on Feb 13 to make a firm proposal or walk away.