PARIS, June 27 Chinese conglomerate Fosun
International, which is courting resort operator Club
Mediterannee together with French private equity firm
Ardian, has ruled out changing partners despite a potential
rival bid from Italian tycoon Andrea Bonomi.
Fosun's chairman, Guo Guangchang, told French daily Les
Echos in an interview published on Friday that Fosun and
Ardian's 557 million-euro ($757 million) offer made through
their Gaillon Invest bid vehicle was "the best possible offer in
terms of wealth creation" for Club Med.
"We are very satisfied with our partnership within Gaillon
Invest and it's out of the question changing partners which form
a perfect Franco-Chinese balance," Guangchang told the French
"We fully intend to maintain the Gaillon project in the
interest of all Club Med shareholders," he said, adding the
support of Fosun was a "key asset" for Club Med's expansion
plans in China.
Fosun, with a 9.96 percent stake, and Ardian, with 9.4
percent, have said their plan is to accelerate Club Med's shift
to fast-growing China, which Club Med wants to make its
second-biggest zone after France by 2015 to counter weaker
growth in Europe.
French markets regulator AMF said last month it would not
set a closing date for the Ardian-Fosun bid until Bonomi's
private equity firm Investindustrial decided whether it would
make a counter offer, giving it until June 30 to clarify its
The watchdog had asked for clarity on Bonomi's intentions
towards Club Med after another one of his funds,
Luxembourg-based Strategic Holdings, became the company's top
shareholder last month with a stake of nearly 11 percent.
Club Med said earlier this month it had received an
"expression of interest" from Investindustrial on a possible
offer and had given the fund access to its financial data. But
so far Bonomi has not said if he would bid.
Strategic Holdings built its holding amid shareholder
resistance to the Fosun-Ardian offer, which at 17.50 euros per
share is well below where Club Med shares have been trading. The
shares closed trading on Thursday at 19 euros.
Bonomi is challenging the AMF's decision to set an end-June
deadline for Investindustrial to make a rival bid for the resort
operator, or be banned for six months from doing so and has
filed a challenge with the Paris Court of appeal, with a
decision slated for July 3.
($1= 0.7359 euros)
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Greg Mahlich)