Today marks the first deadline in the proposed Royal Caribbean/Princess merger: Royal Caribbean must deliver at least 44.5 percent of shareholders who agree to the deal. Three Norwegian families are pivotal because they own significant percentages, particularly the Wilhemsen family, which holds about 25% of Royal Caribbean stock.
The hurdle? Would the merger put the Wilhemsens and the other Norwegian stockholders in the path of a nasty taxable gain in Norway?
The good news is that Norway's tax authorities met this morning and have said, though not officially, that there will be no penalty for the Norwegian investors. While no official announcement has yet been released, it looks like Royal Caribbean will pass this first hurdle and, at least until the next, the deal appears to still be on.