UPS Gets European Antitrust Objections Over TNT Review

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), the world’s biggest package-delivery company, was sent antitrust objections by European Union regulators reviewing its purchase of TNT Express NV. (TNTE)

UPS and TNT will respond to the European Commission’s concerns expressed in the EU complaint within a few weeks, the companies said in a joint statement today. The companies said they wouldn’t comment on the details of the EU’s objections.

UPS, based in Atlanta, agreed in March to buy TNT for 5.16 billion euros ($6.7 billion) or 9.5 euros a share in cash. The deal will double its size in Europe and vault it to equal footing there with Deutsche Post’s DHL, the market-share leader.

“UPS and TNT Express believe competition in Europe continues to be significant, coming from multiple players who offer similar services,” the companies said.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Oct. 2 that the UPS deal may reduce from four to three the number of companies that control pan-European parcel-transport networks. Regulators would analyze whether the combined firm would be “challenged enough” by DHL and FedEx Corp. (FDX), he said.

Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for the European Commission in Brussels, declined to comment on the objections.

“This is still a document that needs to be studied by us, which is what we will do,” Ernst Moeksis, a spokesman for Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based TNT Express, said by telephone.

The companies said they still plan to complete the transaction in early 2013.

The tie-up with money-losing TNT will immediately add to earnings on an adjusted basis once the deal is done, UPS said at the time.

A statement of objections from the European Commission lists regulators’ concerns about a deal. UPS is likely to wait until it receives the statement before offering concessions designed to eliminate possible competition problems, two people said last week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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