China's Fosun set to raise offer in Club Med bid battle: source

PARIS - Chinese conglomerate Fosun, controlled by billionaire Guo Guangchang, is set to raise its bid for holiday company Club Mediterranee on Monday to trump Italian tycoon Andrea Bonomi, a source familiar with the process said.

Bonomi's latest offer in the long-running battle stands at 23 euros per share and values the French company at 874 million euros ($1.1 billion). Fosun had previously offered 22 euros a share in a takeover leapfrog saga that dates back to an offer from Fosun in May 2013.

Monday is the last day Guo, China's richest man, can come back with a higher offer, according to rules set by the French regulator AMF.

Both Guo and Bonomi see turnaround potential in a business that has been hit by the weak economy in its core market of Europe, and by a stalled attempt to move upmarket. Both also hope to develop the brand in faster-growing China.

Guo said earlier this month he was joining forces with Brazilian investor Nelson Tanure to outbid Bonomi.

The source said Tanure would be involved in Monday's proposal but would not put a figure on the new offer or give further details.

Guo's Gaillon Invest takeover vehicle is controlled by his Fosun group and it also includes French private equity partner Ardian, the management of Club Med, and Chinese travel agency U-Tour.

The Bonomi camp owns 18.9 per cent of Club Med, which pioneered the all-inclusive holiday concept in the 1950s and 60s, but fell on hard times in recent years. Fosun's stake is 18.3 per cent.

Club Med shares have been trading above Bonomi's offer on hopes Fosun would make a higher bid. They are up more than 70 per cent since the bid saga began.

Club Med said in its latest results statement that weaker demand in Europe, unrest in the Middle East and Ebola fears in Africa hit bookings and helped push it to an annual loss.