The European Commission has begun its Phase II review of FedEx’s offer to acquire TNT Express.
As both companies have pointed out, this is a normal part of the legal process for proposed mergers and acquisitions in the EU, not an unexpected roadblock.
In addition to the review in Europe, the proposed transaction is also being reviewed by other antitrust agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in China and Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE) in Brazil — countries in which TNT has a large presence.
While it seems unlikely that the EC will block the acquisition — as it did when UPS made a similar offer for TNT several years ago — one condition that is sure to be imposed is the sale, to a European entity, of TNT Airways. That is, FedEx cannot own a European certificated carrier, and TNT Airways cannot be part of the acquisition of TNT by FedEx.
So who will buy it? Let the speculation begin…