Orient-Express to consider Tatas' buy offer

Orient-Express to consider Tatas' buy offer

Orient-Express Hotels will "carefully" evaluate Tata Group firm Indian Hotels Company's proposal to take full control of it and "respond" in due course.

Indian Hotels, which holds 6.9 percent stake in Orient-Express Hotels Ltd, along with an Italian fund Thursday made a $1.86 billion dollar offer to acquire the outstanding  shares of the Bermuda-based luxury hotel chain.

It made an all-cash offer to acquire the outstanding 93.1 per cent stake at $12.63 per share.

In a statement, Orient-Express Hotels said it has received an "unsolicited proposal" from the Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) and certain other members of the Tata group of companies dated Oct 18, and a fund controlled by Montezemolo & Partners to acquire all outstanding shares of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.

"The Board of Directors of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd expects to evaluate the proposal carefully and respond in due course in accordance with the best interests of Orient-Express Hotels Ltd and its shareholders," added the statement, put up on the Orient-Express website.

In 2007, the Tata firm had made a bid to gain control of Orient-Express Hotels but failed to do so following stiff opposition from the then management of the target firm.

In August, Chairman Ratan Tata had described Orient-Express as "a good and strategic fit" and "long-term investment" for the company.

Orient-Express brand has 45 hotel, and cruise and luxury rail businesses in 22 countries.
Reports quoted Indian Hotels Vice Chairman R.K. Krishna Kumar telling Orient Express Hotels Chief Executive Officer Philip R. Mengel in a letter that after the acquisition Orient-Express Hotels "will continue to remain an independent company with standalone management and board of directors, under the broader Tata group umbrella".