P&O abandons £270m takeover of cruise company

Shipping and ports group P&O has abandoned its £270m acquisition of Italian-based cruise firm Festival Cruises.

LONDON (Brand Republic) - Shipping and ports group P&O has abandoned its £270m acquisition of Italian-based cruise firm Festival Cruises.

The company had agreed in May to pay $400m in cash, as well as assuming debt and paying for two new ships to add to Festival’s four-strong fleet.

P&O chairman Lord Sterling said the reason behind the pull-out was the falling value of shares in its cruising arm, which it is de-merging this autumn.

It was planning to issue new shares as part payment for Festival, but Smith said the company’s analysts told him it was “not sensible” to push the deal through, given the drop in price. He denied shareholders had put pressure on to pull out.

“Both parties arrived at the conclusion that this was probably not the best time to take the step of joining forces,” Lord Sterling said.

Festival chairman George Poulides stressed the company would continue with its expansion plans despite the failed takeover.



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