Italian investor to challenge Chinese bid for Club Med

An Italian investor who owns part of Aston Martin and Spain’s PortAventura theme park is reported to be considering a possible €750 million offer for Club Med.

Andrea Bonomi, part of a wealthy construction family, is carrying due diligence on the French all-inclusive holiday company and is said to be serious about challenging an agreed deal with a Chinese-led consortium.

His Investindustrial investment group has been given the equivalent of a “put up or shut up” deadline of the end of this month by the French market regulator to submit a rival offer, the Times reported.

Club Med runs 70 villages around the world and has revenue of €1.4 billion.

The Italian tycoon, who has built an 11% stake in Club Med via his Strategic Holdings unit, has been granted access to the holiday group’s books and has hired Lazard, KPMG, McKinsey and CBRE to advise him on a possible bid.

One source familiar with the process told the newspaper: “Because of the way things have happened, there has been a tendency to dismiss his actions as merely delaying tactics. But the amount of time and money he’s throwing at the due diligence suggest he’s deadly serious.”

It is a year since Club Med’s board backed an offer worth almost €700 million from its two biggest shareholders, Axa Private Equity and the Hong Kong-listed Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, who between them hold almost 20%.

The duo originally offered €17 a share for the French holiday company but only secured acceptance after raising the ante to €17.50, valuing the equity at €554 million, or €696 million including debt and bonds.

Although pitched above the prevailing share price, the consortium’s offer ran into opposition from minority shareholders.

Bonomi started buying shares in March and has paid at least €19 for his most recent share purchases.

Club Med shares closed at €19.24 on Friday, valuing the company’s at about €620 million, equating to an enterprise value of more than €760 million.

Gaillon Invest, the vehicle behind the joint bid from Axa and Fosun, has said that it has no plans to raise its offer for Club Med, even in the event of a higher rival offer.

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