January 8, 2003
P&O Princess board members did not wait until Friday’s deadline to hand down a formal recommendation of Carnival Corporation’s proposed $5.3 billion acquisition bid. The board met today in London. According to P&O Princess Chairman Lord Sterling of Plaistow, “We have today signed an agreement with Carnival to implement the DLC transaction. We are recommending that shareholders approve the DLC transaction with Carnival at an EGM expected to be convened towards the end of March.” Next, the proposed deal must be voted on by shareholders of both companies. Those votes are slated to occur in mid-March. In a statement today applauding the recommendation, Carnival Corp. chairman and CEO Micky Arison said, “We urge P&O Princess and Carnival shareholders to approve the DLC transaction at the forthcoming shareholder meetings, and we look forward to completion early in the second quarter of 2003.” Should all go smoothly, including reviews, as we reported yesterday, by the European Commission and the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission, the new company will be “born” when final documents are signed in April. At that time, the organization will operate through a dual listed company structure, which enables P&O Princess to continue share trading on the London Stock Exchange. Carnival Corp. will continue its share trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s various cruise lines -- which ultimately will account for 65 ships and nearly 100,000 berths -- will operate under the Carnival Corp. umbrella. Another 18 ships are on order, in the combined companies, and will delivered over the next 3 1/2 years, representing yet another 42,000 berths. Consistent with Carnival Corp. policy, the newly added lines to the family fold will be operated more or less autonomously, allowing for some changes in economies and efficiencies of scale.