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FedEx-TNT: This time it will be different

FedEx’s takeover of rival express operator TNT would succeed where UPS’s bid to buy the Dutch-based company had failed two and half years ago, the chief executives of the two companies predicted. The deal for FedEx to buy TNT outright for €8 a share, or €4.4 billion, unveiled at a press

conference on 7 April, would be much simpler than the ill-fated UPS plan, said TNT chief executive, Tex Gunning. “The overlaps between those two businesses were far bigger,” he said.” FedEx chief executive David Bronczek enthused that the acquisition would help his

company strengthen its presence in what had been a relatively weak area, the intra-European express road market. While FedEx has as a good European air network, its presence in the ground based sector of the market is currently minimal. In contrast, the merged company’s European ground network would be “the envy of the

industry,” Gunning predicted. The two chief executives told the conference that TNT’s fleet of 54 long- and short-haul

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aircraſt – dwarfed by FedEx’s 660-strong global fleet - would be sold, presumably in a bid to head off what had been one of the main sticking points of the UPS deal with the European Union competition authorities. Potential buyers of the air operation have been identified. However, it is not yet clear whether the operation would continue as a captive third party operator to service FedEx-TNT’s needs or whether it would simply involve selling off the assets. FedEx’s Bronczek did however pledge to retain TNT’s Liege air hub, alongside FedEx’s

existing hubs in Paris and Cologne, while Gunning argued that the takeover would greatly enhance job security for TNT employees. No decision has yet been made on whether both brand identities would be retained – a

potentially tricky issue. The FedEx name is virtually part of the North American landscape but TNT is well known in Europe as well as other markets, such as Australia where the company originated in the 1940s as Thomas Nationwide Transport.

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