A mashup of Club Med traditions and the changing habits of Chinese travelers should make for some interesting developments if this does go through.
Club Mediterranee SA Chief Executive Officer Henri Giscard d’Estaing, part of Shanghai-based Fosun International Ltd.’s offer for the French company, said he sees China providing a third of future clients if the deal succeeds.
Giscard d’Estaing, who has a 3.1 percent stake in the Fosun bid along with Chief Financial Officer Michel Wolfovski, said Club Med would get one-third of customers from its traditional French base, a third from other mature markets such as the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Germany, and the rest from emerging markets led by China. Fosun is competing with a rival takeover pitch for Club Med from Italian Andrea Bonomi’s Global Resorts SAS.
Chinese customers are already embracing the Club Med culture in its three resorts in the country as well as in locations such as Phuket in Thailand, the Maldive Islands and Bali, Indonesia, the CEO said, arguing that the Fosun offer will do most to preserve the Paris-based company’s upscale focus while opening up new markets as European economies stutter.
“They enjoy the French touch,” Giscard d’Estaing said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “They enjoy the easiness, especially with kids, to have family holidays, and they try everything. The only difference in our Chinese resorts is that we have karaoke rooms and mahjong tables, but that’s not much.”
China is already poised to become Club Med’s second-biggest market after France next year, he said, having contributed 100,000 customers last year. The Fosun bid will also bring access to Brazilian tourists through the involvement of Nelson Tanure’s Docas Investimentos, delivering a “truly global” profile, he said — though the Global Resorts proposal also includes Brazilian private-equity firm GP Investments.
Fosun raised its offer for Club Med to 23.50 euros a share on Dec. 1, 50 cents more than a Nov. 12 bid from Global Resorts, which now has until Dec. 17 to come back with a higher offer.
The latest Fosun proposal extends a chain of bids which began in May 2013 when Fosun, together with Ardian — formerly Axa Private Equity — and Giscard d’Estaing, offered 17 euros a share to take the holiday company private, lifted to 17.50 euros 6 weeks later.
When the deal stalled on legal issues, Global Resorts, amusement-park owner Sol Kerzner and GP Investments made a 21- euro bid in June. Fosun upped the ante to 22 euros on Sept. 12 before Global Resorts — now backed by U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co. — countered with 23 euros.
–With assistance from Richard Weiss in Frankfurt and Andrea Rothman in Toulouse.
To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Jasper in London at email@example.com; Manus Cranny in London at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at email@example.com.
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Photo Credit: A Club Med advertising campaign from June 2013. Club Med