May 10, 2012

FedEx to buy French delivery firm Tatex

Acquisition represents second 'bolt-on' European deal in a month.

By Mark B. Solomon

FedEx Corp. said today it will acquire French business-to-business delivery company Tatex for an undisclosed sum, making it FedEx's second so-called tuck-in European acquisition in slightly more than a month and seemingly confirming the company's strategy to grow its European presence without countering rival UPS Inc.'s bid for Dutch delivery concern TNT Express.

Privately held Tatex, founded in 1976, has a primary hub at Lieusaint, south of Paris, and 35 shipping centers that include six regional hubs. The deal gives FedEx Express, the company's air express and international unit, access to a nationwide domestic ground network carrying 19 million shipments and generating EUR 150 million ($194.5 million) in revenue, FedEx said.

The acquisition "shows we are continuing to systematically and strategically invest in growing our network and value proposition in these important areas of the world," said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx's chairman, president, and chief executive officer, in a statement.

In early April, FedEx announced plans to acquire Opek Sp. z o.o., a Polish shipping company. The two moves are part of FedEx's strategy to expand its European presence through acquisitions of smaller companies that could be folded into its network, as opposed to one major deal for a continentwide carrier like TNT Express.

The two announcements have come after comments made by Smith in a late March analyst call that FedEx has enough firepower to succeed in Europe on its own. At the time, Smith said the company was "confident in our plans to continue expansion, primarily through organic growth."

Smith's comments seemed to quash speculation that FedEx would counter UPS's $6.8 billion offer for TNT Express, which was agreed to March 19 by TNT Express's two boards. To date, no one has come forth with a counter-bid.

From October 2011 through the end of May, FedEx will have opened 38 new stations across Europe, including 19 in France, the company said. FedEx entered France in 1985, and its European, Middle East, and Africa hub is located at Paris's Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport. The Paris hub is the company's largest outside the United States.

About the Author

Mark B. Solomon
Executive Editor - News
Mark Solomon joined DC VELOCITY as senior editor in August 2008, and was promoted to his current position on January 1, 2015. He has spent more than 30 years in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management fields as a journalist and public relations professional. From 1989 to 1994, he worked in Washington as a reporter for the Journal of Commerce, covering the aviation and trucking industries, the Department of Transportation, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to that, he worked for Traffic World for seven years in a similar role. From 1994 to 2008, Mr. Solomon ran Media-Based Solutions, a public relations firm based in Atlanta. He graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C.

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