China's Fosun outbids Italy's Bonomi with sweeter Club Med offer

Mon Dec 1, 2014 11:23am EST
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By Dominique Vidalon and Pascale Denis

PARIS (Reuters) - Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang on Monday sweetened his bid for Club Mediterranee at the last minute, outbidding Italian tycoon Andrea Bonomi's offer in France's longest-running takeover battle.

The 23.50 euros per share offer is 0.50 euro higher than Bonomi's and values the all-inclusive holiday pioneer at 897 million euros ($1.12 billion). It came just hours before a 1700 GMT deadline in a takeover saga that began in May 2013.

Bonomi has until 1700 GMT on Dec. 17 to make a counter-offer and a spokesman for Global Resorts, Bonomi's investment vehicle, said they were "examining the situation".

Guo and Bonomi have been playing takeover leapfrog for months, with both men seeing turnaround potential in a business damaged by the weak economy in its core market of Europe, and by a stalled attempt to move upmarket.

Both also hope to develop the brand in faster-growing China.

Guo has described Club Med as an ideal investment to tap booming Chinese demand for the kind of leisure it offers for China’s harried and increasingly affluent city dwellers to relax.

Indeed, the French company aims to make China its second-largest market by customer numbers by end-2015 and recently opened a third village in the country on Dong'ao Island, in the South China Sea.

"23.5 euros per share is a very high price but Fosun and its co-investors’ long-term strategy and investment horizon make it possible," Jiannong Qian, managing director of Fosun Group told Reuters, adding it was "no ego-driven decision".   Continued...

Club Mediterannee Chairman and CEO Henri Giscard d'Estaing attends a news conference in Paris, September 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Christian Hartmann