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Monday, 22 October 2012

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Indian Hotels makes $ 1.86 b offer for Orient-Express

Indian Hotels, an arm of the giant Tata Group, announced Thursday an offer worth $1.86 billion to acquire Orient-Express Hotels, marking its second attempt to buy the Bermuda-based luxury global chain.

Indian Hotels Co Ltd and Charme II Fund, an Italian private equity fund managed by Montezemolo and Partners SpA, have sent a letter to Orient-Express Hotels Ltd proposing the purchase, the Indian company said in a statement. “We are very excited at the prospect of bringing our two great companies and brands together,” said R.K. Krishna Kumar, vice chairman of Indian Hotels, adding that the Indian firm was seeking “transaction negotiations”.

There was no immediate response from Orient-Express but shares in the New York Stock Exchange-listed company leapt nearly 40 percent on the back of the announcement before retracing to trade up 22 percent at $11.02. In 2007, Orient-Express spurned an offer by Indian Hotels for a tie-up on grounds its brand value might be diluted by an association with the Indian company which owns the premium Taj hotel chain in India and abroad.

The rebuff outraged Indian business and Indian Hotels whose parent is the tea-to-steel Tata Group, one of India's oldest business houses. Indian Hotels, which owns the iconic seafront Taj Mahal Palace in the financial hub Mumbai that was targeted by Islamist extremists in a 2008 attack in which 166 people died, said it had already acquired a 6.9-percent stake in Orient-Express.

AFP

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