Carnival Corp. has exercised its option to purchase the remaining 32 percent minority interest in Cunard Line Ltd. in a deal worth about $205 million. Carnival acquired a 68 percent interest in Cunard Line Ltd. in May 1998. With the purchase of the 32 percent minority interest, Carnival will own 100 percent of Cunard.
Under its option, Carnival said it has the right to purchase the minority interest for shares of Carnival common stock. In exercising its option, Carnival also offered the minority shareholders a cash alternative of $39.50 per Carnival share.
Cunard Line Ltd. owns two luxury cruise lines - Cunard Line and Seabourn Cruise Line, which together operate eight luxury ships, including the world-renowned Queen Elizabeth 2. According to Carnival Corp. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, the purchase of the remaining 32 percent of Cunard is being made in anticipation of the future expansion of the brand. "Considering the strength of the Cunard brand and its plans to build the largest ocean liner
in the world to complement the Queen Elizabeth 2, it simply makes sense for Carnival to own 100 percent of Cunard," Arison said. - (Reuters)