October 26, 2012 / 3:30 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Indian Hotels asks to meet Orient Express

MUMBAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Indian Hotels Company Ltd has written to bid target Orient-Express Hotels asking for a meeting to explain the benefits of its $1.2 billion bid for the U.S. luxury hotel group.

Vice chairman R. K. Krishna Kumar said in the letter on Friday Indian Hotels wanted to assure the Orient-Express board that the group would remain a separate and independent company with its own management and directors.

Indian Hotels, part of the Tata group conglomerate, last week offered $12.63 per Orient-Express share, a 40 percent premium to the stock’s previous closing price, in a rare example of an unsolicited bid by an Indian firm.

Kumar said he wanted Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata and Italian sports carmaker Ferrari’s chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, to meet Orient-Express.

Italian investment firm Montezemolo and Partners SpA would invest $100 million in a minority stake in the enlarged group.

Indian Hotels, which acquired a 10 percent stake in Orient-Express in 2007, now owns about 7 percent.

The company runs 99 hotels across India and 16 international hotels including the Pierre Hotel, New York.

Orient-Express’s global portfolio includes the Hotel Cipriani in Venice and the 21 Club in New York. Its heavy exposure to a sluggish European economy has crimped growth.

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