01 Dec 2006

Euro Disney: Hostile Takeover Offer Apparently Planned

At a press conference held on the 30th of November in Paris, the Swiss Zug-based firm Center-Tainment AG confirmed its previously announced interest in the takeover of Euro Disney. According to this, Center-Tainment wants to propose a trade-off in its own stock in order to be able to offer a nominal value of 0.11 eurocent per Disney share. After Center-Tainment’s intention to acquire the majority of Euro Disney shares was made known, Euro Disney’s stock climbed 29% to 0.09 eurocent on the 29th of November. According to www.finanznachrichten.de, on the same day, only 50 shares at 18 euros were traded, which equates to a market capitalisation of 180 million euros. The next day, on the 30th of November 2006, Center-Tainment stocks closed in Frankfurt with a severe crash of 2.00 euros at a volume of nearly 25,000 traded shares.

In business and finance circles, Center-Tainment is widely unknown. The stock has been traded on the open market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since September 2006. It is unclear whether the company was founded for the sole purpose of a Euro Disney takeover. Despite all of the difficulties and opposition that are bound to lurk along the path of an intended hostile takeover, it should be taken into account that the creditor banks of the badly indebted Euro Disney Corporation supposedly have a major say in the matter of the future of the European Mickey Mouse spin-off, 40% of which is currently held by the Walt Disney Corporation. Apart from this, there is also evidence that Center-Tainment is interested in the takeover of other smaller European leisure companies. On the speculations and transactions surrounding Euro Disney and Center-Tainment, the headline from the 29th of November in France’s leading daily newspaper, Le Monde, put it aptly: “Un mystérieux investisseur vise Euro Disney”. There’s simply nothing more to add to that at the moment. (eap)

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