Tata Group renews bid to acquire Orient-Express hotels

Indian Hotels is clearly keen to push through its $1.86-billion bid for the Orient-Express chain of hotels jointly with Ferrari chairman Luca Montezemolo.

Vice-chairman of Indian Hotels R Krishna Kumar has written to the British hotel chain's board of directors, including chairman J Robert Lovejoy, seeking a personal meeting between them and Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, which owns Indian Hotels, along with Montezemolo.

After Indian Hotels made its bid public, Orient-Express called it "unsolicited", but added that the board would evaluate "carefully and respond" to the offer.

In his note sent on 26 October, Kumar has explained Indian Hotels' objectives for making the offer for the NYSE-listed company. He wrote that he ''wanted to take the opportunity to further explain our motives in seeking to acquire Orient-Express Hotels and to dispel any misunderstandings you may have about our offer and our goals with respect to the company.''

Stating that ''we have only had access to public information,'' Kumar said Indian Hotels wished to engage in a ''constructive dialogue''.

''We have long understood that historically you were hesitant to meet with us because we have never put a firm offer on the table. We have now put together an attractive, fully-financed offer, with a 40 per cent premium to the market price,'' he wrote.