A ClubMed holiday brochures seen at a Chinese tourist agency in Beijing
Paris - AFP
The board of directors of French holiday firm Club Med on Monday unanimously recommended that shareholders accept an improved bid from Chinese conglomerate Fosun and its partners.
The board said it considered the Fosun offer the best deal financially, "conforming more with the interests of the company, its employees and it shareholders," Club Med said in a statement.
They unanimously approved the revised bid made via a vehicle called "Gaillon Invest II", in which Fosun has the main interest of 85.1 percent. Its French ally Ardian would hold 5.0 percent, Chinese travel company U-Tour 7.5 percent and Club Med executives 2.5 percent.
Fosun and its allies had made a counter-bid outflanking Italian businessman Andrea Bonomi by 4.8 percent, valuing Club Med at 839 million euros ($1.08 billion), they said last month.
Club Med, once famous for thatched-roofed, free-wheeling holiday villages which inspired a popular comedy film in France, is coveted for its potential to appeal to new middle classes in emerging economies.
In its early days, Club Med was associated very much with the French way of having fun, and was seen as a strong French brand. If shareholders approve the Fosun offer, the company will come under strong Chinese influence, but will retain a listing on the Euronext market in Paris.
Just before the board's vote on Monday Fosun had reiterated its pledge.
"The headquarters will remain in Paris and Fosun intends to maintain the listing on the Paris stock exchange," it said.
Fosun and its partners have said that they would boost Club Med's strategy of developing market shares in mature markets, notably in France, and in rapidly growing markets such as China, Brazil, Russia, and South East Asia.
Club Med first became a high-profile name in the European tourism industry because it offered holidays in somewhat hippy style villages where sports activities were included.
It has since moved up-market, weathered financial storms in the process, and is now looking for further expansion, including in China.