Sheraton rethinks Ciga strategy

Click to follow
The Independent Online
SHERATON is believed to be trying to renegotiate its L900bn ( pounds 375m) bid to take control of the troubled Ciga hotel group in Italy, writes John Shepherd.

The US company last month withdrew to the sidelines because its offer of L740 a share had been sunk by arbitrage trading in Ciga's equity, which had pushed the price on the Milan bourse to L1,200.

The rise meant Mediobanca, leading creditor to Ciga, was prevented from extracting a controlling 50.1 per cent stake from 22 other banks with outstanding loans to Ciga.

Sheraton is now said to be aiming for a 30 per cent stake, but is still not prepared to increase its L740 a share offer. Italian banking sources said a 30 per cent stake could be enough to control Ciga, without excluding the possibility of increasing the holding later.

The key to a fresh deal is Ciga's parent company, Fimpar. It has not taken up its entitlement to the L1,000, ten-for-one rights issue made by Ciga. Fimpar's rights equate to 30 per cent of Ciga, and will have to be auctioned, possibly next week.

Comments