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LVMH close to US$2.6b deal to buy Belmond: WSJ
[TOKYO] LVMH is close to acquiring Belmond Ltd in a deal that would value the operator of high-end hotels and the iconic '21 Club' power restaurant at about US$2.6 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The French luxury-goods company is near an agreement to pay US$25 a share in cash for London-based Belmond, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. That would represent a 42 per cent premium over Belmond's closing price in the US on Thursday.
The Journal said a deal could come as early as Friday.
Belmond in August said it hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co for a strategic review. Chairman Roland Hernandez last month called the review "robust" and said management was encouraged by the interest third parties were showing in the company.
Belmond's shares have soared 58 per cent since Aug 8, at one point reaching their highest level since 2008. They closed at US$17.65 a share in New York trading on Thursday.
LVMH, owner of the Louis Vuitton brand and champagne maker Dom Perignon, would be a surprise winner for Belmond. Potential buyers weighing an offer for all or part of the company included KSL Capital Partners LLC, Blackstone Group LP, KKR & Co and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in October.
Belmond, which used to be known as Orient-Express Hotels, owns or has stakes in more than 30 high-end hotels around the world, including Hotel Caruso on the Amalfi Coast in Italy and the Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg, according to company filings. In addition to the '21 Club', its stable of luxury properties also includes a cruise line in France, a London-to-Venice train line and safari camps in Botswana.