Mr Thomas' business Qdos Pantomimes, the leading producer of pantomime across the UK, has been acquired by global theatre and live entertainment company Crossroads Live.
The new company, Crossroads Pantomimes, will be led by Crossroads' theatrical group chairman, David Ian and former Qdos Pantomimes managing director Michael Harrison will act as chief executive.
Mr Thomas MBE will step down from the pantomime business, which has produced over 750 pantomimes since its beginnings in 1982.
He said: "After our 39th pantomime season in 2019/20, Sandra and I decided it was time to find a new owner for Qdos Pantomimes.
"After discussions with Crossroads Live, we are delighted that David and Michael will be taking the business forward.
"Our Qdos Entertainment Group will be embarking on new adventures, and we will spend our first ‘non-pantomime’ Christmas somewhere in the sunshine!”
A focus on regional theatres made the Qdos pantomime season the lynchpin of the theatrical year for dozens of major UK theatres and in 2016, Mr Thomas and Mr Harrison returned pantomime to its West End home the London Palladium after a 30-year absence, with a new production of Cinderella.
At the London Palladium, 2017 saw the first ever Olivier Award given to a pantomime for Dick Whittington.
By 2019, what started as a small family business, run from a spare room, had grown into a business with over 1,200 staff across 21 sites.
Having turned 60 in 2019, Nick and his wife Sandra decided to find new owners Qdos’ two core businesses, HQ Theatres & Hospitality Ltd and Qdos Pantomimes Ltd.
HQ Theatres, which operates 11 UK venues including Southend Cliffs Pavilion, G Live, Guildford; Bromley’s Churchill Theatre and the Orchard Theatre, Dartford, was acquired by Trafalgar Entertainment
Cofounded by Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire in 2017, Trafalgar Entertainment has grown significantly in recent years into a premium international live entertainment business.
It owns and operates London’s Trafalgar Theatre (set to reopen after a major refurbishment with Jersey Boys, summer 2021) and will be opening Australia’s Theatre Royal Sydney in September.
Mr Thomas said: “My team and I built HQ from small beginnings to be a major player in the UK theatre and live entertainment sector.
"I am delighted that the journey will continue for the team through this collaboration with Trafalgar Entertainment to further develop HQ, the business I founded.
"This is not so much the end of an era as the beginning of an exciting new chapter for HQ, together with the company’s producer and local authority partners.”
Mr Thomas and his wife Sandra continue to operate the Qdos Entertainment brands which consist of several businesses including Five Star Collection which runs The Plough pub in Scalby, The Mayfield and The Copper Horse in Seamer and The Yew Tree cafe in Scalby.