NEW YORK -- Officials of Premier Cruises and Royal Olympic Cruises
met within the past two weeks to discuss a possible merger, Travel
According to a confidential memo obtained by Travel Weekly,
Premier Cruises president Bruce Nierenberg informally proposed to
Royal Olympic board member Aleco Keusseoglou at a meeting here that
the two lines join forces for reasons including cost savings,
increased buying power, better yields and additional deployment and
marketing opportunities. Together, the companies operate 13
Nierenberg insisted that his discussions with Keusseoglou
amounted to nothing more than a get-together by two old friends,
although the memo suggested the executives bring their ideas to
major shareholders of their firms. A followup meeting took place in
Europe, according to sources.
"There is no merger pending, no transaction, nothing," an angry
Nierenberg said when asked to comment on the memo. He said Premier
has also had discussions "with other people."
"I had a meeting with [Royal Olympic] like I do all the time,"
But he later added that a merger between Premier and
Athens-based Royal Olympic, which have both had disappointing
financial results, "makes a lot of sense."
"A merger would help the trade. A merger would make a better
company," Nierenberg said.
Keusseoglou said his discussions with Nierenberg were only "a
preliminary exchange of ideas." He said Royal Olympic is not
talking to anyone else, but that the company is "on the lookout to
Meanwhile, Premier's corporate credit and senior unsecured debt
ratings were lowered to "D" from triple-"C" by Standard &
Poor's. S&P said the line "did not make the March 15 interest
payment on its senior notes."