CARNIVAL Cruise Line has admitted holding "discussions" with P&O Cruises, but has refused to comment on reports it made an unsuccessful £7bn offer to buy the company.
Industry sources believe that Carnival is keen to acquire its rival, P&O Cruises' US-based cruiseline Princess Cruises.
One observer said: "There is no smoke without fire. Carnival needs a strong foothold out of Los Angeles and the West Coast of the US, and Princess has that."
However, it is thought unlikely P&O would be interested in a deal. A P&O spokesman dismissed the reports, saying: "Cruising remains at the heart of P&O. We announced in March we were restructuring our business in order to concentrate on cruising, ferries and ports. We have £2.5bn worth of ships on order."
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