New Delhi: Tata group firm Indian Hotels Co is understood to be prepared to increase its offer from USD 1.86 billion to take full control of US-based hospitality chain Orient Express Hotels.
According to sources in the know of the development, the Indian firm is willing to sweeten the offer if it gets to go through the books of the American firm and found "more value".
"The offer that IHCL has made was based on only publicly available information. If it gets to access the books of Orient Express Hotels and finds more value, then it may be willing to increase the offer," a source said.
When contacted, an Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) spokesperson declined to comment.
The sources, however, said the company's intent to sweeten the offer was hinted in the letter that IHCL Vice Chairman R K Krishna Kumar had written to Orient Express Hotels Chairman J Robert Lovejoy on October 25.
"...To date, we have only had access to public information and, as such, our offer was informed only by this limited data... To the extent you and your advisors wish to discuss value-drivers of which we may not be aware, we would be pleased to engage in a constructive dialogue regarding these issues," Kumar had said.
He had written the letter seeking a meeting between Lovejoy and Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata along with Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo to discuss the acquisition issue.
On October 18, IHCL along with Charme II Funds, founded by the family of Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo, had made an all-cash offer to acquire the outstanding 93.1 percent stake of Orient Express at USD 12.63 per share.
The domestic hotel major's offer, which includes the target firm's debt burden, was at a 40 percent premium to Orient-Express' closing stock price traded on NYSE on October 17. IHCL at present holds 6.9 percent in the US firm.
Orient-Express Hotels has already described IHCL's second attempt to acquire it as "unsolicited".
This is the second time that the Tata group firm is attempting to gain control of Orient Express Hotels after its failed attempt in 2007 due to stiff opposition from the then management of the target firm.