FedEx Wins No-Strings-Attached Approval for TNT Deal From EU

  • EU sees no antitrust concerns with FedEx adding TNT to network
  • Companies still working to win approval in China, Brazil

FedEx Corp. won unconditional approval from European Union regulators to buy smaller parcel delivery rival TNT Express NV, almost three years after United Parcel Service Inc. was blocked from a similar takeover.

The EU’s formal review of the 4.4 billion-euro ($4.8 billion) deal revealed no antitrust concerns, the companies said in a statement Friday. The deal still needs clearance in Brazil and China and the companies “anticipate that the offer will close in the first half of” 2016.

“Many businesses and consumers rely heavily on affordable and reliable small package delivery services, in particular with the growth of e-commerce,” EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “The commission has thoroughly assessed the markets affected by this takeover. The conclusion is that European consumers will not be adversely affected by the transaction.”

The commission opened an in-depth investigation in July over concerns the transaction might lead to higher delivery prices for small packages. The EU regulator Friday said there won’t be any antitrust issues because “the merged entity will continue to face sufficient competition from its rivals.” 

FedEx’s bid to add the Dutch company’s vehicles, staff and customers will expand its reach and allow it take on Deutsche Post AG’s DHL and UPS.

“We are extremely pleased to receive the European Commission’s unconditional approval,” said David Binks, regional president Europe of FedEx Express.

The EU blocked a UPS bid for TNT in 2013, saying it would leave too little competition in the market for guaranteed next-day deliveries among the remaining three “integrator” operators -- companies that have extensive air, land and IT networks capable of shifting parcels from one part of the EU to the next in the shortest possible time.

UPS has an appeal pending at the EU lower court seeking to overturn the EU’s 2013 decision.

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