Sennder acquires Uber Freight in Europe

sennder acquired uberfreight

The changes in logistics driven by digital technology have had the highest profile in areas such as warehousing, where automation but also scheduling, driven by real time data flow has resulted in a transformation of operations. Other markets such as freight forwarding have not seen such a violent revolution so far.

There are ‘digital forwarders’ who are attempting to change this and two of them have just announced a deal to merge. On Wednesday (September 16) the Berlin-based digital freight forwarder Sennder, which specialises in the road freight market, outlined its acquisition of Uber’s freight operation in Europe. The terms have not been disclosed, however, Sennder described it as an “all-stock transaction” with Uber becoming a minority shareholder in the German company. However, Bloomberg news agency is quoting an unnamed source that the deal valued Uber Freight in Europe at “€900m/$1.1bn”. This is unconfirmed.

This deal does not seem to be cash generative despite the pressure on Uber’s finances. Rather, the move may be an attempt to achieve higher volumes and economies of scale. Certainly, Sennder’s CEO, David Nothacker, commented to Ti that “with the acquisition of Uber Freight’s European business, we will grow into a business with offices in 7 countries and a team of more than 500 people moving 50,000 loads across Europe a month”. That would suggest a considerable jump in the size of Sennder’s business, as well as a move to having a more balanced geographical presence across Europe. It appears that Sennder has also established some sort of relationship with Uber, possibly to extend its own reach in North America.

Sennder has assembled a network of capabilities outside Germany over the past couple of years through the purchase of French company Everoad, and a joint venture with Poste Italiane. These, and the Uber deal, point to the need for such types of businesses to gain volume in order to deliver operational viability as well as credibility in the eyes of key customers. This is a prerequisite if they are to challenge incumbents like DB Schenker or Kuehne + Nagel.

Source: Transport Intelligence, September 17, 2020

Author: Thomas Cullen