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Hamburg joins bid to thwart NOL's takeover of Hapag Lloyd

Hamburg: Hamburg, home to TUI AG's Hapag-Lloyd unit, will join M.M. Warburg & Co. and billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuehne to bid for the container-shipping line, reports Bloomberg.
The German city will hold a 20 percent stake, valued at 200,000 euros ($313,000), in a company formed to make the bid, Hamburg's Finance Minister Michael Freytag said yestefrday. M.M. Warburg is based in Hamburg, while Kuehne, who controls logistics giant Kuehne & Nagel International AG, was born there.
Hamburg's government said last month the port city might consider buying the shipping line to protect jobs. TUI, Europe's biggest tour operator, is seeking a buyer for Hapag, which analysts have said may be worth 5.4 billion euros. Press reports have said Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. is interested.
The Hamburg company formed to make the bid is known as Verwaltung Hamburgische Seefahrtsbeteiligung Albert Ballin GmbH and takes its name from Albert Ballin, who at the beginning of the 20th century made the former Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt- Actiengesellschaft (Hapag) the world's largest shipping line.
''We won't be able to spend billions for Hapag-Lloyd,'' Freytag said. He didn't rule out Hamburg increasing its 200,000- euro investment in future. The bidding group is seeking more investors to make a joint bid, the official added.
John Fredriksen, the shipping tycoon who is TUI's largest shareholder, could make a bid for the line if he believes none of the others is adequate. [21/5/08]



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