Luxury hotel company Orient-Express Hotels has received an unsolicited takeover bid from Indian Hotels, a subsidiary of Tata, India's largest industrial conglomerate.
The Mumbai-based Indian Hotels - which markets its properties under the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces brand - already owns a 6.9% stake in Orient-Express Hotels, which operates about 40 luxury hotels worldwide, including Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire.
It has now offered £7.86 per share for the remaining 93.1% of Orient-Express Hotels, a figure that is a 40% premium over the current share price.
The board of directors of Orient-Express Hotels has responded to the offer by saying that it will "evaluate the proposal carefully and respond in due course in accordance with the best interests of the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd and its shareholders".
The acquisition of Orient-Express Hotels would considerably boost Indian Hotels' portfolio of about 100 hotels, 80% of which are currently in India. In the UK, Indian Hotels owns 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites & Residences and the Crowne Plaza London - St James. Elsewhere, it operates the Pierre in New York and the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur.
As well as owning hotels such at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice and the Mount Nelson hotel in Cape Town, Orient-Express owns a number of rail journeys including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Royal Scotsman.
While shares in Orient-Express increased by more than 22% to close at £6.88 at the news of the proposed acquisition, Indian Hotels shares fell 5% to 76p.
By Janet Harmer
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