PostNL Rises Most in Four Years on Reported Takeover Speculation

PostNL NV rose as much as 20 percent, the most since February 2012, following a Daily Mail report citing speculation Royal Mail Plc is preparing a 2.2 billion-euro ($2.4 billion) offer for the Dutch mail delivery service.

A bid of 5 euros a share may be announced early in the new year, the U.K. newspaper said, citing “hot gossip.” Germany’s Deutsche Post AG is also said to be interested. A spokesman for Royal Mail declined to comment. PostNL spokesman Dick Kors said the company “didn’t recognize” itself in the report.

Buying PostNL would be Royal Mail’s first major takeover since it was listed on the London Stock Exchange in October 2013. It would help the U.K.-based mail delivery service increase revenue at a time that people are sending fewer letters by regular mail, while the number of shipped parcels is rising due to a growing number of people purchasing goods online.

There is a strategic rationale for a deal, ING analyst Marc Zwartsenburg said in a note to clients Thursday, especially after PostNL sold its U.K. operations. PostNL’s parcel business has highly efficient and modern sorting machines, the analyst said, which Royal Mail has yet to invest in. Zwartsenburg maintained his buy rating and target price of 5.30 euros per share.

PostNL shares were trading 14 percent higher at 3.72 euros per share at 11:39 a.m. in Amsterdam, valuing the company at 1.6 billion euros. Royal Mail advanced 0.4 percent to 450.6 pence a share in London.

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