Carnival Said Set to Make P&O Princess Bid
LONDON (Reuters) - Carnival Corp (NYSE:CCL - news) is poised to launch a
$3.63 billion counterbid for P&O Princess (POC.L), which in November agreed
to merge with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE:RCL - news), the Sunday
Telegraph reported in Sunday editions.
Miami-based Carnival, the world's biggest cruise group, has appointed
investment bank UBS Warburg to prepare a counterbid which could come before
the end of the year, the paper said.
Carnival is due to report fourth-quarter figures on Thursday and the paper
said the company could be pressed by investors and analysts to clarify its
London-based P&O Princess, which will take a place in the FTSE 100 index of
top British shares later in December, last month announced a tie up with
Royal Caribbean of Miami, Florida.
Under the deal no shares or cash will change hands and Royal Caribbean and
P&O Princess will retain their separate stock market listings. The combined
entity will be headquartered in Miami, and will be led by Royal Caribbean
Chief Executive Richard Fain.
Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter
December 18, 2001
P&O PRINCESS rejected the entreaties of her latest suitor when the line spurned a hostile takeover bid from Carnival Corp. in favor of an earlier proposal from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The rejection Dec. 16 of
the $4.61 billion bid set up a battle between Carnival, cruising's largest
operator, and RCCL, the No. 2 supplier, for third-place operator P&O Princess. "Our response to Carnival is based on two clear criteria," said Peter Ratcliffe, P&O's chief executive, "value for our shareholders and deliverability. The proposal falls short on both counts." Carnival chairman Micky Arison and Howard Frank, vice chairman, were to have taken their case directly to P&O Princess shareholders in London on Monday. Carnival's offer follows last month's announcement by Royal Caribbean and P&O Princess of a $5.9 billion merger agreement.
Let's hope that Princess' stockholders look at more than their own financial interests when deciding on whether or not to accept Carnival's bid. Celebrity/Princess/Royal Caribbean seem to be more sympatico. Carnival was unsuccesful in its attempt to take over Royal Caribbean in the early 80's, failed in its bid to take over Celebrity in the 90s, and was not able to outmaneuver Star when NCL was up for bid. Let's hope their losing streak continues. Certainly it doesn't seem that a merged Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean places Carnival at risk. The same cannot be said if Carnival were to take over Princess.