PARIS, July 4 The boss of Club Mediterranee
played the national champion card on Friday in the
battle for control the French all-inclusive holiday pioneer,
saying a sale to Italian tycoon Andrea Bonomi would hand control
to foreign investors.
Chairman and Chief Executive Henri Giscard d'Estaing has
teamed up with China's Fosun International and French
private equity group Ardian for a 557 million euros ($760
million) bid for Club Med priced at 17.5 euros a share.
Bonomi, now Club Med's largest shareholder after building a
stake this year, topped the offer on Monday, offering 21 euros a
share, or 790 million euros..
"The Gaillon project, which regroups Ardian and Fosun, is a
strict balance, a parity between a French and a Chinese
shareholder...On the contrary (Bonomi's) Global Resorts has a
very different plan and wants sole control of the Club which
would be exclusively in international hands," Giscard d'Estaing
told French daily Le Figaro.
The French government has a largely successful history of
protecting local companies from foreign takeovers and the
Fosun-Ardian camp has been trying in recent weeks to rally
support from authorities against Bonomi, sources have said.
Earlier this year, France intervened to halt the sale of
French engineering group Alstom, agreeing to let U.S.
conglomerate to take the firm, but only after securing an
option for the French state to buy 20 percent of Alstom.
Bonomi's strategy to win over support for his deal in France
has been to promise he would accelerate expansion in the
country. He has made clear he would replace current management
and said he would split the CEO and Chairman positions.
Giscard 'Estaing would not comment on the likelihood of a
counter-bid by the Fosun-Ardian's camp.
"My sole concern is the future of the company. My
responsibility is to support the project that best meets Club
Med's interest. As to terms, price, it's up to Gaillon to say if
there is a need to raise or not the price of the offer,"
($1 = 0.7331 Euros)
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon)