* Board to give recommendation on Bonomi's offer - source
* Bonomi welcomes support from son of Club Med founder
* Club Med trading slightly above the 21 euros offered by
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, July 21 Club Mediterranee's
board of directors will meet on Friday to decide whether to back
a takeover offer for the holidays group from top shareholder
Andrea Bonomi, according to a source close to the matter.
"The board will meet July 25 to give a motivated opinion on
the offer," the source said on Monday, without providing further
details on this latest step in the bid battle for the French
Italian tycoon Bonomi is now the largest shareholder in the
all-inclusive holidays pioneer, having built a stake of nearly
11 percent this year. He is offering 21 euros a share for Club
Med, valuing it at 790 million euros ($1.1 billion).
His offer tops a one year-old 557 million euros offer by
China's Fosun International and French private equity
group Ardian. That offer was priced at 17.50 euros a share but
became mired in legal challenges and shareholder opposition to
it as too low.
At 1023 GMT, Club Med shares were up 0.24 percent at 21.30
euros, bringing gains so far this year to 22 percent.
Bonomi must also convince Club Med shareholders, staff and
the French establishment his offer is best for Club Med's
future. Part of his strategy to win support has been to promise
accelerated expansion in France.
On Sunday his offer received the backing of Serge Trigano,
the son of Club Mediterranee's founder Gilbert Trigano.
Trigano told French weekly Le Journal Du Dimanche Bonomi's
offer was more appealing for shareholders and preserved Club
Med's roots in France as well as its lower-cost options.
Trigano would become the resort chain's non-executive
chairman if Bonomi's offer is successful.
"The support of Serge Trigano is excellent news," Bonomi
said in an e-mail to Reuters, adding it "answered all the
questions" raised by his bid and confirmed Club Med's focus on
France and respect for its values.
Fosun, with a 9.96 percent stake, and Ardian, with 9.4
percent, have said their plan is to accelerate Club Med's shift
towards China, which Club Med wants to make its second-biggest
zone after France by 2015.
Bonomi has said he believed the future of Club Med was not
solely in China but also in Europe and the Americas. He has also
warned against neglecting the cheaper end of the holiday market.
Gaillon Invest, the investment vehicle of the Ardian-Fosun
alliance, has so far refused to raise its 17.50 euro offer but
has said it will review Bonomi's offer.
Under an indicative calendar provided by Bonomi to French
AMF stock market regulator, his offer would start on Aug. 7 and
run until Sept. 11.
AMF has yet to provide an official calendar for Bonomi and
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, additional reporting by
Francesca Landini in Milan; Editing by Andrew Callus)