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UPS’ TNT takeover bid fizzles out

By Gareth Macdonald , 14-Jan-2013

United Parcel Service (UPS) has abandoned its bid to buy Holland-based logistics firm TNT Express after the European Commission said it would block the deal.

UPS launched its bid for TNT – whose services include a temperature-controlled drug logistics offering known as Pharmasafe – last March , explaining that the deal would fit with effort decision to make the healthcare services sector a strategic priority.

The US firm – which is also rumoured to have been interested in pharma logistics company World Courier before it was acquired by AmerisourceBergen – pulled out of the deal after European Commission competition concerns.

Scott Davis, UPS Chairman and CEO said: “We are extremely disappointed with the EC’s position.  We proposed significant and tangible remedies designed to address the EC’s concerns with the transaction. 

The combined company would have been transformative for the logistics industry, bringing meaningful benefits to consumers and customers around the world, while supporting growth in Europe in particular.” 

TNT is set to earn a $200m (€149m) termination fee, but UPS' withdrawal does not leave it in a particularly strong position.

The Dutch firm – which cut logistics capacity in Europe last year citing lower customer demand – must now find a replacement for former CEO Marie-Christine Lombard, who left resigned in September.

Pharma logistics

The deal’s collapse comes just days after one of TNT’s pharma logistics rivals – Marken – announced the expansion of its good manufacturing practices (GMP) compliant storage and distribution depot in Mexico city and forged a partnership with BioStorage Technologies in Singapore.

The firm – which recently completed a restructuring programme that saw existing stakeholders take over control of the firm from former private equity owner Apax Partners – said both the Mexico expansion and the Singapore partnership were prompted by higher demand for logistics services.

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