Maersk withdraws bid for DB Schenker

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A.P. Moller-Maersk has withdrawn its bid to buy DB Schenker, leaving just three bidders remaining in the acquisition race.

The shipping giant said in a statement shared with Air Cargo News that it made the decision to quit the acquisition process for Deutsche Bahn’s freight forwarding subsidiary after it concluded that integrating DB Schenker into the company would involve multiple challenges.

This decision comes after Deutsche Bahn recently narrowed the number of potential buyers of DB Schenker down to four bidders, including Maersk. Initial bids for the forwarder were between €14bn and more than €15bn.

Maersk said that it has carried out a review of DB Schenker’s business to assess the strategic fit of the company into Maersk and has also participated in an in-depth due diligence task.

“Following this review, Maersk has decided to withdraw from the process,” confirmed the company.

“We said we would look into this opportunity, and we did,” commented Vincent Clerc, chief executive of Maersk. “Our investigation confirmed DB Schenker as an interesting company with a comprehensive portfolio in the logistic market and with further potential to unlock for the future.”

“But the in-depth review also identified areas of challenges from an integration perspective and ultimately, we concluded that acquiring DB Schenker would not be the right thing to do for our business at this time. It has been a good process, ensuring that we can make the most well-informed decision possible.”

Clerc added that Maersk was still interested in potential future acquisition opportunities to serve its expansion goals, but it is currently focused on developing its maritime terminals and ocean network.

“Our strategic focus remains unchanged; acquisitions continue to be an important lever to scale our Logistics business. We are committed to continue to grow in Europe, including Germany, and we see our organic growth in logistics gaining momentum.

“We are executing our growth plans in the Terminals business and implementing a new Ocean network. This is where our focus is, and we are fully dedicated to further unfolding all the potential that we see.”

Maersk hasn’t always been in the running for top-four airfreight forwarder DB Schenker.

The shipping company had in the past said it had no interest in the forwarder, but in February this year performed a u-turn and said it would in fact consider making an offer for DB Schenker.

Now the decision by Maersk to withdraw its bid means that only DSV, Saudi shipping company Bahri and a private equity consortium led by CVC remain in the acquisition competition.

Deutsche Bahn announced that DB Schenker was officially up for sale in December 2023 after spending a year mulling its options.

The forwarding giant is being sold by Deutsche Bahn as it looks to reduce debts.

Air Cargo News sister title DVZ reported earlier this year that Deutsche Bahn had asked interested parties to demonstrate their experience with logistics M&A deals of this size and that they have the appropriate financial resources.

They must also explain what interest they have in Schenker and give an initial insight into their plans for the company if they were to win the contract.

The sales documents show that a complete sale is still the preferred option, although interest in less than 100% of the shares would be considered, so a partial sale is not completely ruled out either.

Deutsche Bahn selects the final four DB Schenker bidders

Maersk weighs up DB Schenker bid

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]