THE proposed tie-up between P&O Princess Cruises and Royal
Caribbean could be delayed following the takeover bid made by Carnival earlier
this week.

The board of P&O Princess has been forced to allow its
shareholders to consider the Carnival offer, holding up the Royal Caribbean
merger that was announced last month. An extraordinary general meeting is to be
held on February 14 next year so shareholders can discuss the matter.

P&O Princess’s board is urging shareholders not to
recommend the Carnival deal. Chief executive officer Peter Ratcliffe said: “We
must be absolutely certain that we are not jeopardising our merger with Royal
Caribbean, a committed partner, in return for a proposal which simply turns out
to be a spoiling tactic designed to disrupt the creation of significant value for
P&O Princess’ shareholders.”