United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s biggest package-delivery company, and the European Union agreed to extend an antitrust review of the U.S. company’s $6.8 billion bid for TNT Express NV by 10 working days.
The delay until Dec. 12, signaled by the European Commission in a filing on its website today, is “purely for administrative purposes,” Peggy Gardner, a spokeswoman at Atlanta-based UPS, said in an e-mail. “The extension will not result in a change to the process or the outlook for the decision.”
UPS is seeking to expand in Europe with the biggest acquisition in its 105-year history. The purchase of Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based TNT would vault UPS to equal footing with Deutsche Post AG’s DHL, the region’s market leader. The tie-up with TNT will immediately add to earnings on an adjusted basis once the deal is done, the U.S. company said in March.
The antitrust ruling postponement “was mutually agreed by all parties,” Gardner said, adding that UPS remains confident the purchase will be completed in the fourth quarter.
UPS said on July 14 that it plans to extend the 5.16 billion-euro ($6.3 billion) cash offer for TNT beyond Aug. 31. EU regulators said July 20 that there are potential competition concerns for small parcel delivery services, in particular international express handling, in several European countries where the companies would have very high combined market shares.
Ernst Moeksis, a spokesman for TNT, didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail message and an e-mail seeking comment.
TNT fell as much as 1.1 percent to 8.80 euros and traded down 0.7 percent at 4:27 p.m. in Amsterdam. UPS, which is offering 9.50 euros a share for TNT, rose as much as 1.2 percent to $75.80 and was up 0.9 percent in New York.