Decks cleared for acquisition of Orient Express

With 6.9% stake, Indian Hotels set to go for remaining 93.1%

Tata group firm Indian Hotels Company on Thursday said it will make an offer to acquire US-based Orient Express Hotels, which owns a chain of luxury hotels in US and Europe.

Indian Hotels, which operates the iconic Taj properties in India and abroad, said it had acquired 6.9 per cent stake in Orient Express during 2007 and 2009, and now will make an offer to buy the remaining 93.1 per cent.

Board approval

The company's board of directors "have 'in principle', subject to the necessary regulatory approvals, authorised the company to make an offer to the board of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd seeking their consent for the company acquiring the balance outstanding 93.1 per cent Class A common shares of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd i.e., 100 per cent."

"The company proposes to finance the acquisition of such shares and related transaction costs through a combination of debt and equity," the company said in a filing to the BSE adding that funds required to consummate the transaction are in place.

‘Strategically compelling’

Indian Hotels said that a combination of itself and Orient-Express Hotels Ltd is a 'strategically compelling' opportunity for both companies as also for its respective shareholders. "Appropriate disclosure of the offer, as afore referred, is being concurrently filed with the Securities Exchange Commission, USA," it said.

The company said it has an agreement with Montezemolo & Partners an important Italian company directly owned by the Montezemolo family, who is the Manager of charme II Fund, which will be a minority shareholder in the Special Purpose Vehicle set up for the transaction, it said.

Shares of Indian Hotels Company on Thursday closed at Rs 70.20 on the BSE, up 3.24 per cent from its previous close.

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