Nearly one year ago, Princess and Royal Caribbean agreed to merge, with Royal Caribbean's chairman
slated to run the combined entity. Carnival launched a hostile takeover bid for Princess soon after, which
analysts agreed was worth more to Princess shareholders than the original deal with Royal Caribbean.
Because the deals involved the 3 largest companies in the cruise industry, any merger was subject to review and approval by regulatory agencies in the US and in Europe, so the cruise
lines filed their proposals and waited.
This week, in a 3-2 vote, the FTC wrapped up its 10-month investigation with a decision that neither of the
unions would create an anticompetitive environment. The European Commission had already given its
approval. With regulatory hurdles now cleared, Princess shareholders are scheduled to vote next month on
whether to proceed with the Royal Caribbean merger. Most analysts expect the shareholders will vote against
that merger, which will clear the path for a vote on a Carnival buyout in December. There may be more twists
and turns in this road, but Carnival clearly has the inside track at this stage.
Post Edited (10-14-02 15:31)