French president warns Chinese off AccorHotels takeover
President Francois Hollande has warned China's state-owned Jin Jiang, the world's fifth-largest hotel group, against a possible takeover of French company AccorHotels.
"Accor has Chinese investors because it is also developing in Asia," Hollande said in an interview set to appear in La Voix du Nord newspaper on Tuesday.
"But I am keeping a close eye on the capital of this global group remaining diversified," the president added.
Jin Jiang has been steadily increasing its stake in AccorHotels and is now its largest shareholder, sparking concern in France that it may try to take control of the company which owns brands such as Pullman, Mercure and Ibis.
The Jin Jiang group, a rising force in the global hotel industry that is owned by the city of Shanghai, has increased its stake in AccorHotels from 5 percent at the start of this year to 15 percent at the end of last week.
French newspaper Le Figaro reported last week that Jin Jiang is targeting a 29 percent stake in AccorHotels.
That would be just below the 30 percent level that would force it to make a public offer to purchase the remaining shares in AccorHotels.
The Journal du Dimanche reported on Sunday that AccorHotels could seek to protect itself by having the French state take a 10 percent stake.
The newspaper said that while Prime Minister Manuel Valls was supportive, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron preferred focusing the government's limited resources on supporting the struggling French nuclear energy industry.
© 2016 AFP