Tata-owned Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) has made another attempt to push its $1.86 billion acquisition offer for the US-based Orient-Express hotels.
IHCL vice-chairman RK Krishna Kumar has requested Orient-Express chairman J Robert Lovejoy for a meeting with Tata chairman Ratan Tata and Ferrari chairman Luca Montezemolo. After a failed attempt in 2007, this is the second time the Tatas are attempting to gain control of Orient-Express. The 2007 bid had failed due to stiff opposition from then management of Orient-Express.
On October 18, IHCL along with Charme II Funds - founded by the family of Montezemolo - had made an all-cash offer to acquire the outstanding 93.1% stake of the Orient-Express at $12.63 per share. British property billionaires David and Simon Reuben own 6.22% of Orient-Express. The Orient-Express has already described IHCL's second acquisition attempt as "unsolicited".
"We are seeking to forge an alliance between the two great names in the hospitality industry to significantly broaden the footprint of both companies," Kumar wrote to Lovejoy.
To quell any possible apprehensions on part of the Orient-Express staff and management, he added that the IHCL "has always endeavoured to pursue friendly transactions".
Citing the examples of the Jaguar Land Rover and Corus acquisitions, he said: "Orient-Express hotels will remain a separate and independent firm with a standalone management."