August 14, 2014 / 6:30 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Clear run at Club Med for Bonomi as rivals pull out

(Adds detail, background)

PARIS, Aug 14 (Reuters) - French private equity firm Ardian and Chinese conglomerate Fosun International said they would withdraw their offer for resort operator Club Mediterranee , leaving the way clear for a bid by Italian businessman Andrea Bonomi.

The Ardian-Fosun alliance’s Gaillon Invest investment vehicle said on Thursday it would ask France’s AMF regulator to withdraw the offer. AMF gave the go-ahead for Bonomi’s higher bid on Wednesday, saying it was in line with market rules.

Global Resorts, controlled by Bonomi, is offering 21 euros a share - a price that values Club Med at 790 million euros (1.1 billion US dollar), above Gaillon’s year-old 17.50 euro-a-share offer worth 557 million.

Shares in Club Med are up by close to a quarter since the start of the year and have been trading close to 21.5 euros, closing at 21.45 euros on Wednesday.

The board of Club Med had said last month that it unanimously considered Bonomi’s offer to be in shareholders’ interests. Bonomi had already built a stake of nearly 11 percent.

Club Med, with annual sales of 1.4 billion euros, competes with hoteliers including Intercontinental and Accor , as well as tour operators such as TUI Travel and Thomas Cook.

A recent drive to reinvent itself as an upmarket operator has been stifled by an economic downturn in Europe, which still accounts for 70 percent of its revenue. (1 US dollar = 0.7483 euro) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Andrew Callus)

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