Accor’s Next Acquisition Target is Air France-KLM?

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French press reported over the weekend that Accor was showing interest in buying French state’s stake in the the troubled Air France-KLM.

Air France HOP

The airline group has been in deep trouble this year after the Air France pilots have staged strikes spanning 15 days that forced the head of the airline out. The French state owns 14.3 stake in the airline giving it 23% voting rights.

Reuters was reporting that there are three options citing sources (read more here):

The first would be to sell its whole stake to AccorHotels.

The second would be a partial sale that would keep some state influence at Air France KLM.

A third option would be to swap the state’s holding in Air France KLM for a stake in AccorHotels – a move the newspaper said would be consistent with French President Emmanuel Macron’s desire to have an influence in “national champion” companies.

And here’s an excerpt from the Financial Times (read more here):

If Accor were to buy the state’s stake in Air France-KLM, the French government could receive a 3 per cent stake in Accor as a result of a share swap. This would make Accor less vulnerable to a hostile takeover, with Chinese rivals circling the group, according to bankers. Accor’s shares dropped more than 6 per cent on Monday as analysts questioned the logic of a potential tie-up.

Conclusion

This would be a typical French solution to a French problem. The Air France pilots believe that the government will come to the rescue because they are minority owner of the airline. It would probably make sense for the government to offload the stake to anyone willing to buy it.

Cannot really see any synergies between these groups beyond perhaps something in the loyalty program side. And isn’t Accor already French enough?

Surely there must be better ways for Accor to invest the money they just received after offloading part of their real estate portfolio?

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