UPS to buy TNT Express for $6.77B

TOBY STERLING Associated Press Published:

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- United Parcel Service Inc. said Monday it has agreed to buy TNT Express NV for $6.77 billion (€5.16 billion) in a deal supported by TNT's boards.

UPS's cash offer of €9.5 ($12.51) per share for TNT -- Europe's second-largest express delivery company behind DHL -- comes a month after TNT management turned down a €9 per share offer. The companies remained in talks, assisted by a strengthening dollar.

UPS said Monday the deal is a 54 percent premium to TNT's closing price before the first offer Feb. 17. TNT shares closed at €9.35 on Friday.

The acquisition would be the biggest ever for Atlanta-based UPS, which is the world's largest delivery company.

UPS Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn said on a conference call the companies are a "strong business and cultural fit," and TNT will improve UPS's reach in Europe and other markets where TNT has operations, in Latin America and Asia.

Expanding in Europe at a time it is suffering from slow economic growth or recession shows UPS's "long-standing commitment to Europe," Kuehn said.

UPS said the deal will add to its earnings per share in the first year, and by 2015 the companies will save at least €440 million annually by combining operations.

Kuehn declined to answer questions about potential sales of operations or job cuts at TNT. He said he expects the deal to receive regulatory approval easily and close in the third quarter of 2012, adding to UPS's earnings per share in the first year.

TNT Express NV's largest shareholder, PostNL NV, said separately Monday it has agreed to tender its 29.9 percent stake in TNT to the UPS offer.

Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based TNT was split from Dutch mail company PostNL NV in May of last year.