BRUSSELS, Belgium -- European regulators may OK Carnival Corp.'s
bid for P&O Princess -- and likely without asking Carnival to
divest any of its brands in order to gain approval, according to
reports from Brussels.
A source close to the investigation echoed the reports from
Reuters and the Financial Times, saying the decision from the
European Commission could come as early as the end of this week,
nearly a month before the EC's self-imposed Aug. 19 deadline.
A regulatory decision on both merger proposals from Carnival and
rival suitor Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. from the U.S. Federal
Trade Commission is expected to follow soon after an announcement
from the EC. RCCL's proposed merger with the London-based P&O
cleared regulatory approval with the U.K. Competition Commission
last month; their deal was not subject to EC scrutiny.
A spokesman from Carnival said: "We have not heard anything
official from the Commission at this point."
Royal Caribbean has been protesting Carnival's bid for P&O
Princess to the FTC, saying the Carnival deal is
If the EC does approve Carnival's bid -- and both deals are
approved by the FTC -- P&O Princess shareholders still will
have to vote on which company they want to partner with, if
Royal Caribbean's chairman and chief executive officer Richard
Fain told Travel Weekly that he has been in contact with P&O
Princess chief executive Peter Ratcliffe, and that the P&O
board of directors continues to recommend the RCCL merger to its
Meanwhile, Carnival said last week in a filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission it will incur a $30 million
expense by September, related to the possible P&O Princess