Acquisition activity heats up in European logistics market


The European logistics sector is currently experiencing large deal M&A activity, reflecting a broader trend of consolidation and strategic realignment within the industry. DB Schenker is up for sale, Advent is seeking options for Evri and a new entrant sparks a bidding war for Wincanton.

At the end of January, CMA CGM, via its CEVA Logistics business, moved to acquire Wincanton. The deal was valued at £566.9 million on a fully diluted basis, positioning Wincanton at approximately £764.9 million on an enterprise value basis. This represented a significant increase of over 50% compared to Wincanton’s share price prior to the offer. In a stock exchange statement Wincanton stated that it had ‘received an approach from a potential competing bidder’, without naming the company involved.

It is believed that GXO Logistics has approached Wincanton about a possible takeover offer that would derail the agreed bid from CEVA Logistics. Wincanton is now obliged, under Rule 21.3 of the Takeover Code, to provide the new contender with due diligence information, to enable it to decide whether or not to make a rival offer. In the meantime, CEVA Logistics parent CMA CGM has increased its offer to £802m.

In more positive news for CMA CGM, the European Commission approved its proposed acquisition of Bollore Logistics, subject to the divestment of certain activities in smaller jurisdications.

In other M&A news, Advent International, the US private equity owner of Evri, has appointed Rothschild advisors to investigate potential options for the parcel delivery business. Evri’s value could be as much as £2bn, according to media reports. Advent International acquired 75% of Evri (then called Hermes) in 2020 for a reported sum of around €1bn, including debt. In the year to 25 February 2023, Evri’s revenue flatlined at £1,464m, while pre-tax profit fell by 56% to £51m.

After Deutsche Bahn began the DB Schenker sale process in December 2023, it has been reported that there are up to 20 potential acquirers of the business. It is estimated that the price for DB Schenker, which is one of the world’s largest freight forwarders, could be between €10-15bn. Interested parties are reported to be DSV, DP World, sovereign fund ADQ and Kuehne + Nagel. The Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc has stated that it would be ‘irresponsible’ for their company not to contemplate a potential acquisition of DB Schenker.

Author: Paul Chapman

Source: Ti Insights

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