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French authorities approve ClubMed buyout

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

France's market authority said on Tuesday it had approved the takeover of up-market holiday firm Club Med by Chinese group Fosun and a French investment fund.

France's Autorité des Marchés Financiers said the improved offer of 17.5 euros per share by Fosun and French group AXA Private Equity, already the two main shareholders, was valid.

The board of Club Mediterranee, as the company is officially known, last month voted unanimously in favour of the friendly offer which values the business at 556.89 million euros ($732 million).

Club Med will remain a French company and majority control of its capital will remain in French hands.

The two bidders have sought to calm possible objections in French political circles that the company might come under Chinese control.

Club Med is a high-profile player in the French tourism sector which has successfully restructured despite financial crisis in Europe.

The company returned to profit in 2011 and has refocused its strategy, going up-market, increasing its international activities and aiming for substantial expansion in China.

In Asia, Club Med has been active in Japan for more than 20 years and also operates in Thailand, the Maldives, and in Bali, Indonesia.

Before the operation Fosun, which became a shareholder in 2010, was the biggest shareholder with just under 10 percent of the capita. AXA PE owned 9.4 percent of the shares.

At the time of the AMF announcement, Fosun and AXA held 34 percent of the company and must pass the 50 percent mark in order for the buyout to bee deemed succesful.

Colette Neuville, a representative for small shareholders in Club Med, has said stakeholders should resist taking up the offer as it failed properly to value ClubMed's potential.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130716/french-authorities-approve-clubmed-buyout