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Club Med climbs beyond bid price as investors seek more

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in Club Mediterranee <CMIP.PA>, which its top two shareholders want to buy, extended their gains above the proposed bid price on Wednesday amid signs some investors in the French holiday firm are pushing for a better deal.

ADAM, a minority-shareholder advocacy group, told Reuters it had been approached by a number of small shareholders unhappy with the 17-euros-a-share proposal from China's Fosun International <0656.HK> and AXA Private Equity <AXAF.PA>, which also envisages Club Med managers holding a stake in the company.

"The problem is that management will get an entry price into a holding that could fully take advantage of the progression of the share price, while other shareholders are being offered the same price, but to exit," said ADAM President Colette Neuville.

Club Med, which operates around 70 resorts, said in a statement after the market close that it had appointed financial consultancy, Accuracy, as an independent expert to analyze the financial terms of the offer that has yet to be filed.

Club Med also said it had set up a committee of independent board members chaired by Georges Pauget, former CEO of Credit Agricole <CAGR.PA> and head of Club Med's audit committee, to monitor the expert's work.

Club Med shares closed up 1.8 percent at 17.58 euros, valuing the firm at 564 million euros ($725 million). The stock has risen 27 percent since news of the takeover proposal, but is trading well below its 2007 high of almost 50 euros.

Founded in 1950 and listed since 1966, Club Med was a pioneer of the all-inclusive holiday resort.

But it fell on hard times in the past decade because of stiff competition and an unsuccessful expansion into services, and its more recent drive to recast itself as an upmarket operator has been hampered by a flagging European economy

Fosun, with a 9.96 percent stake, and AXA, with 9.4 percent, said on Monday they wanted to accelerate Club Med's shift to fast-growing emerging markets like China.

Under their plan, control of Club Med would be exercised through a joint venture owned 46 percent by Fosun, 46 percent by Axa Private Equity and 8 percent by 400 Club Med managers.

Chief Executive Henri Giscard d'Estaing, the son of former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, currently owns less than 0.01 percent of the share capital.

Should the bidders secure 95 percent of Club Med, they reserve the right to squeeze out other shareholders.

($1 = 0.7779 euros)

(Reporting by Pascale Denis; Writing by Elena Berton and James Regan; Editing by Mark Potter and Louise Heavens)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131001/club-med-climbs-beyond-bid-price-investors-seek-more