The bidding war for French holiday group Club Med heated up Friday as Italian businessman Andrea Bonomi's Global Resorts raised its offer to counter the takeover ambitions of Chinese rival Fosun, a source close to the matter told AFP.
Bonomi's group has offered 24 euros per share against the Chinese conglomerate's latest bid, joined by Brazilian investor Nelson Tanure, on Monday of 23.50 euros per share.
The improved Fosun offer valued Club Med at 890 million euros ($1.1 billion). It was lodged Monday with French stock market regulators, who had given Bonomi a deadline of December 17 to counter it with an elevated bid.
At mid-day Friday, the regulator suspended trading of Club Med shares in Paris.
After Fosun's latest offer, Club Med's board of directors said it was "concerned about the consequences of the higher bids" and the impact of a high purchasing price on the group's employees and partners.
The takeover battle for Club Med began more than 18 months ago and is the longest in the history of the Paris stock market.
Club Med first became a top name in the European tourism industry for its all-inclusive budget family villages.
It has since moved up-market, weathering financial storms in the process, and is now looking for further expansion, including in China where it has been a partner with Fosun.
According to company figures released last week, of the 25,000 new clients Club Med attracted in 2013, 80 percent were Chinese -- and the rest were Brazilians.