In April of 2015, global package delivery and transportation provider FedEx announced its intention to acquire Europe based TNT Express in all cash offering for TNT stock. At the time the transaction represented an implied value for Netherlands based TNT of approximately $4.8 billion. Last week a major regulatory hurdle was cleared regarding this acquisition.
Last week, European Union regulators granted unconditional approval, ending a six-month approval process. Regulators concluded that both parcel delivery companies were not close competitors in Europe and that the merged entity would face sufficient competition from existing competitors. The announcement was viewed by business media as an easier pass than that of UPS, which had previously attempted to acquire TNT in 2013, which later had to be abandoned because of EU anti-trust concerns. UPS had subsequently revised its proposal three different times in order to secure EU approval, which never came.
While both EU and U.S. regulators have now approved the merger, several countries such as Brazil and China have yet to weigh-in. While equity analysts expect FedEx to receive the green light from these additional countries, The Wall Street Journal recently opined that China good be a wild card given its propensities of-late toward more anti-trust scrutiny as well as stretching out its overall approval timeline.
FedEx was willing to pay a 42 percent premium for TNT shares in April in order to position the combined entity as the third largest player in European international express delivery behind DHL and UPS.
Timing to secure all additional approvals remains rather important since TNT’s financial position has been eroding. The sooner FedEx can add its presence and resources, the more beneficial this deal will become for both parties.