Hesperia denies preparing full takeover bid for NH Hoteles

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NH Hoteles' largest shareholder Grupo Inversor Hesperia said Wednesday it had held talks with financial and industrial parties regarding the situation at the Spanish hotel chain but denied reports it was readying a takeover bid.

31 January 2008

MADRID -  NH Hoteles' largest shareholder Grupo Inversor Hesperia said Wednesday it had held talks with financial and industrial parties regarding the situation at the Spanish hotel chain but denied reports it was readying a takeover bid.

Hesperia made the denial in a regulatory filing with the National Securities Commission. The statement was signed by a Chief Executive, Javier Illa, who earlier was reported as saying Hesperia was in advanced talks with three partners with a view to launch a full bid for NH.

Financial daily Cinco Días quoted Illa as saying Hesperia had bought NH shares at EUR 14 a year ago, which would be a "reasonable price" for a bid.

Reuters quoted Illa as saying Hesperia expected to table the offer in the first half of this year. But any bid had to be agreed, given NH's limited free float of only 23 percent of its capital.

NH's share price rose Wednesday by as much as 9 percent in the wake of the takeover reports but eventually closed up only 0.93 percent at EUR 9.80.

Hesperia first took a stake in its rival hotel group in 2003. It currently has an interest in NH of slightly over 25 percent. However, NH has denied Hesperia representation on its board of directors.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / Adrián Soto 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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