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UPS Shuns TNT, Seeks European Partners, Capital Says

United Parcel Service Inc. isn’t interested in buying TNT NV’s parcel business while expanding in Europe’s private-customer market, Capital magazine reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Scott Davis.

While the German publication quoted Davis as saying UPS is talking to European postal operators, including Deutsche Post AG, to gain access to residential customers and lower delivery costs, Atlanta-based UPS said today in a statement that there are “no active discussions under way in this arena.”

“UPS has focused more on small- to medium-sized businesses to fill strategic niches or network gaps rather than large-scale acquisitions,” said Norman Black, a UPS spokesman, paraphrasing comments Davis made to Capital. UPS is the world’s biggest package-delivery company.

Silje Skogstad, a spokeswoman for Bonn-based Deutsche Post, and Ernst Moeksis, a TNT spokesman, declined to comment on the Capital report.

UPS “should be interested in TNT” because the U.S. company “doesn’t really have a footprint in the European express market,” said Philip Scholte, an analyst for Rabo Securities in Utrecht, Netherlands. “If you have a customer in the U.S. that wants delivery service across Europe, then you need a partner with a wide network.”

TNT, the former state postal monopoly of the Netherlands, controls almost one-fifth of express deliveries in Europe. The Hoofddorp-based company plans to spin off mail operations as the market for letters shrinks across the region.

TNT has been the subject of takeover speculation in the past five years, including a Financial Times report in July 2008 that Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx Corp. was in talks with the Dutch company. FedEx declined to comment on the reports at that time.

TNT dropped 1.2 percent to 18.08 euros as of the 5:30 p.m. close of Amsterdam trading. Deutsche Post gained 1.4 percent to 13.75 euros in Frankfurt.

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