A source familiar with the $1 billion-plus bid process told Reuters
that Guo's conglomerate, the Shanghai-based Fosun <0656.HK>, was set
to raise its bid on Monday, and that Brazilian investor Nelson
Tanure would be involved in the offer.
By 1216 GMT, the stock was steady at 23.94 euros. A second source
with knowledge of the offer said Fosun would bid 23.50 euros. Club
Med shares are up more than 70 percent since the bid battle began in
Bonomi's latest offer stands at 23 euros per share and values the
French company at 874 million euros ($1.1 billion).
Guo and Bonomi have been playing takeover leapfrog for months, with
both men seeing turnaround potential in a business damaged by the
weak economy in its core market of Europe, and by a stalled attempt
to move upmarket.
Both also hope to develop the brand, pioneer of the all-inclusive
holiday concept, in faster-growing China.
"It's very expensive in view of the situation of the sector and of
the company. There is no economic logic to paying such a price
unless you have a very long-term view," said Oddo Securities analyst
Fehmi Ben Naamane.
Club Med's fortunes have not improved since Guo first bid. In
November it said weaker demand in Europe, unrest in the Middle East
and Ebola fears in Africa hit bookings and helped push it to an
Bonomi has built an 18.9 percent Club Med stake, inspired by
minority shareholder resistance to the first Fosun offer of 17
euros. Monday is the last day Guo, China's richest man, can come
back with a higher offer, according to rules set by the French
regulator AMF. He has 18.3 percent.
[to top of second column]
Club Med - forecast to be back in the black in the coming year -
trades at a 12 month-forward estimated earnings of 18.82 times
against 23.61 for its peers, Reuters data shows.
Guo said in November that Tanure had joined his team.
Through his Gaillon Invest vehicle Guo's partners also include
French private equity partner Ardian, the management of Club Med,
and Chinese travel agency U-Tour.
(Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon; writing by Andrew
Callus; editing by Kevin Liffey, David Clarke and Susan Thomas)
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