BY Richard Summerfield
Following months of speculation – and activist activity – the future of Swiss logistics company Panalpina has finally been sealed, with Danish rival DSV agreeing to acquire the company in a deal worth $4.6bn.
The merger, once completed, will create one of the world’s largest companies in logistics and freight forwarding – only DHL Logistics, Kuehne & Nagel and DB Schenker will be bigger.
The deal will see DSV acquire Panalpina with an all-share offer of 2.375 DSV shares for each Panalpina share held. The offer gives an implied price of 195.8 Swiss francs for each Panalpina share, compared with DSV’s cash offer of 180 francs per share made on 15 February – a 43 percent premium, and an initial cash and shares offer then worth 170 francs which was made in January. The agreement has the backing of investors holding 69.9 percent of registered shares, including the Ernst Goehner Foundation which owns 46 percent of Panalpina and had rebuffed a previous offer.
“In the course of the past weeks, Panalpina’s board of directors and management has been exploring different strategic initiatives and held discussions with DSV about a potential combination,” said Peter Ulber, chairman of Panalpina. “The board of director’s assessment is that the updated proposal of DSV is very attractive. It is recognising the quality of Panalpina’s employees, the company’s strong position as one of the world’s leading providers of supply chain solutions, and its special competencies and know-how in air and ocean freight. The board of directors recommends Panalpina’s shareholders to accept the offer. Talks with Agility have been discontinued. We are now looking forward to join forces with DSV and contribute to creating one of the world’s largest transport and logistics companies. Our customers will be able to benefit from a stronger network and service offering as well as new competencies and skills.”
“A combination of DSV and Panalpina further strengthens our position as a leading global freight forwarding company,” said Kurt Larsen, chairman of DSV. “Together, we can present a strong global network and enhanced service offering to our clients, further solidifying our competitive edge in the industry. It’s a great match on all parameters. Panalpina is a great company and we’re very excited by this possibility to join forces and to welcome Panalpina’s talented staff.”
The DSV/Panalpina merger comes a few months after DSV abandoned its pursuit of Ceva Logistics AG, after its offer worth $1.7bn was rejected. DSV said at the time it would pursue other targets.