Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal’s United Saudi Commercial Bank (USCB) has taken a 9.65 per cent indirect stake in Euro Disney. He could raise his stake in the French theme park operator to a maximum of 24.63 per cent following purchases from two other shareholders, the French stock exchange said on 12 September.
The move was envisaged in Prince Al-Waleed’s commitment in June to support the French theme park operator, but few details have since emerged of his holding or plans for future share purchases (MEED 17:6:94, Cover Story). Societe des Bourses Francaises said Prince Al-Waleed would directly buy as much as 5.22 per cent from France’s Caisse des Depots & Consignations at the rights issue price of FF 10 ($1.9) a share, and up to 13 per cent from EDL Holding Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the US’ Walt Disney Company.
Prince Al-Waleed’s intervention in June boosted investor confidence significantly in Euro Disney, analysts say. One result was that the response to a FF 5,950 million ($1,127 million) rights issue, which he underwrote, was much better than expected.
Prince Al-Waleed is also financing French hotel group Accor’s bid to take over the Meridien chain owned by Air France. Its main competitor and highest bidder is the UK’s Forte group, which has offered around FF 1,900 million ($360 million).