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IHCL may raise offer for Orient-Express

Prepared to increase its offer from USD 1.86 billion to take full control of US-based hospitality chain Orient Express Hotels if it gets to go through the books of the company and found "more value"

   Saturday 24-Nov-2012  | Mumbai

Tata group firm Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) is understood to be prepared to increase its offer from USD 1.86 billion to take full control of US-based hospitality chain Orient Express Hotels.

According to sources in the know of the development, the Indian firm is willing to sweeten the offer if it gets to go through the books of the American firm and found "more value". 

"The offer that IHCL has made was based on only publicly available information. If it gets to access the books of Orient Express Hotels and finds more value, then it may be willing to increase the offer," a source said.

The sources, however, said the company's intent to sweeten the offer was hinted in the letter that IHCL Vice Chairman R K Krishna Kumar had written to Orient Express Hotels Chairman J Robert Lovejoy on October 25.

"...to date, we have only had access to public information and, as such, our offer was informed only by this limited data... To the extent you and your advisors wish to discuss value-drivers of which we may not be aware, we would be pleased to engage in a constructive dialogue regarding these issues," Kumar had said.

He had written the letter seeking a meeting between Lovejoy and Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata along with Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo to discuss the acquisition issue.

On October 18, IHCL along with Charme II Funds, founded by the family of Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo, had made an all-cash offer to acquire the outstanding 93.1 per cent stake of Orient Express at USD 12.63 per share.

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