Carnival Corporation’s bid for P&O Princess was rife with speculation over the weekend as United Kingdom media reported that European regulatory clearance -- i.e. their approval of the deal -- was dependent on Carnival’s unloading Cunard Line.
So much so that Carnival actually released a statement, in response to “unsubstantiated media reports speculating on a possible divestiture of Cunard Line...”
The statement? “Carnival’s Cunard Line is a unique, global, internationally recognized premium and luxury cruise operator that provides a sophisticated, upscale cruise experience aboard its vessels, the Caronia and the world famous Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2). Cunard currently has under construction two new vessels; the 150,000 gross-registered-ton Queen Mary 2 (QM2), which will be the world’s largest passenger ship and the first transatlantic liner constructed in more than three decades, scheduled to enter service in January 2004, and an as-yet-unnamed 85,000-ton ship scheduled for delivery in January 2005. These two vessels represent a $1.2 billion investment in the future of Cunard Line and demonstrate Carnival’s full commitment to growing this world recognized brand. Should Carnival be required to divest assets in Europe as a condition of regulatory clearance for its proposed bid to acquire P&O Princess, Carnival would not consider disposing of Cunard Line.”