Orient-Express Hotels evaluating 'unsolicited' takeover proposal

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Stock

Orient-Express Hotels, the owner Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, has said it is considering an 'unsolicited' takeover proposal from minor shareholder Indian Hotels
Orient-Express Hotels, the owner Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, has said it is considering an 'unsolicited' takeover proposal from minor shareholder Indian Hotels
Orient-Express Hotels, the owner of Raymond Blanc's Oxfordshire venue Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, has become the subject of an 'unsolicited' takeover proposal by minor shareholder Indian Hotels.

Filing a letter to Orient-Express Hotels interim chief executive Philip Mengel with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Indian Hotels has offered to take total control of the business for $1.86bn, or $12.63 per share - 40 per cent above the closing share price on the day before the offer was made last week.

Best interests

In the letter, R.K. Krishna Kumar, vice-chairman of Indian Hotels, indicates his company met with the Orient-Express Hotels Board in August and offered to purchase a significant amount of equity - an offer that was subsequently rejected.

"We continue to believe that a transaction between the two organisations is both financially and strategically compelling to our respective shareholders," he said.

On the takeover proposal the vice-chairman added: "We believe this offer is in the best interests of Orient−Express Hotels and its shareholders, and deserves careful consideration by your Board of Directors."

Mumbai-based Indian Hotels, which owns and operates the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces company, currently owns around 7 per cent of Orient-Express Hotels​ and added it was hoping to create one of the world's 'pre-eminent collection of luxury hotels and resorts' in a 'friendly' transaction.

The company has claimed to have secured the capital needed to complete the deal and further capital to invest in the brand and expand it after any takeover.

Careful evaluation

In response, Orient-Express Hotels confirmed it had received a letter it described as 'unsolicited' and said: "The Board of Directors of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. expects to evaluate the proposal carefully and respond in due course in accordance with the best interests of the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. and its shareholders."

The Bermuda-based company was founded by James Sherwood in 1977 with the acquisition of the Venice-Simplon Orient Express and operates a number of hotels, rail journeys and river adventures across the globe.

In the UK, the firm owns a stake in Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons hotel and operates the British Pullman and The Royal Scotsman trains.

Raymond Blanc, founder and chef patron of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, was appointed vice president of Orient-Express Hotels in 2010.

Related topics: Business, Venues, Hotels

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