FedEx is to take over TNT Express in a cash deal that values the TNT business at £3.21 billion ($4.8bn, €4.4bn).
The move follows the 2012 bid for TNT by UPS that failed after being blocked by the European Commission.
However, FedEx and TNT Express said they “are confident that anti-trust concerns, if any, can be addressed adequately in a timely fashion”.
The offer is expected to close in the first half of 2016. PostNL, the Dutch post office, which holds 14.7 per cent of TNT shares is supporting the deal.
Frederick W Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp, said: “We believe that this strategic acquisition will add significant value for FedEx shareowners, team members and customers around the globe. This transaction allows us to quickly broaden our portfolio of international transport solutions to take advantage of market trends – especially the continuing growth of global e-commerce – and positions FedEx for greater long-term profitable growth.”
The European regional headquarters of the combined companies will be in Amsterdam/Hoofddorp. TNT Express hub in Liege will be maintained as a significant operation for the group going forward. However, TNT Express’ airline operations will be divested, in compliance with applicable airline ownership regulations.
Tex Gunning, CEO of TNT Express, said: “This offer comes at a time of important transformations within TNT Express and we were fully geared to executing our stand-alone strategy. But while we did not solicit an acquisition, we truly believe that FedEx’s proposal, both from a financial and a non-financial view, is good news for all stakeholders. Our people and customers can profit from the true global reach and expanded propositions, while with this offer our shareholders can already reap benefits today that otherwise would only have been available in the longer run.
After completion of the offer, the TNT Express supervisory board will be composed of three new members selected by FedEx (David Binks, Mark Allen and David Cunningham who will act as chairman) and of two members of the current supervisory board of TNT Express (Margot Scheltema and Shemaya Levy Chocron).
David Binks is regional president, FedEx Express, Europe. Mark Allen is senior vice President Legal International. David Cunningham is executive vice president and COO, FedEx Express.
The plan is that Tex Gunning and Maarten Jan de Vries will remain on the Executive Board of TNT Express after settlement.