December 19, 2001
The saga of Carnival vs. P&O Princess gets curioser and curioser. After spurning any and all advances by mega-Carnival Corp., P&O Princess, which had announced plans to merge with Royal Caribbean, has said it will put itself up for auction.
In a concession to Miami-based Carnival, Princess has scheduled a shareholders' meeting for Feb. 14, six weeks after the company's board plans to issue a circular urging investors to approve the planned merger with Royal Caribbean.
This gives Carnival time, according to wire reports, to make a ``credible and superior'' offer by Jan. 18 -- and shareholders time to debate the pros and cons over the Carnival acquisition vs. the merger with Royal Caribbean.
According to Peter Ratcliffe, Princess’ CEO, “We must be absolutely certain that we are not jeopardizing our merger with Royal Caribbean, a committed partner, in return for a proposal which simply turns out to be a spoiling tactic designed to disrupt the creation of significant value for P&O Princess' shareholders. The timetable we have set in place today both honors our agreement with Royal Caribbean and still gives time for Carnival to put forward a credible, deliverable and more valuable transaction.”