Bloomberg: Private equity and shipping giants circle DB Schenker

Photo: DB Schenker

German forwarding and logistics company DB Schenker has attracted bids from shipping and logistics giants as well as a private equity consortium.

According to a report in Bloomberg, a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners and Carlyle Group has submitted a bid worth around €14bn.

Meanwhile, DSV, AP Moller Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have also submitted bids.

Quoting insiders, Bloomberg said the logistics companies had been less aggressive on price than the private equity consortium.

In March, Air Cargo News reported that DB Schenker had attracted interest from around 20 parties.

Other companies rumoured to be interested include UPS, DP World, Saudi shipping company Bahri, and Abu Dhabi Ports owner ADQ.

Bloomberg said it wasn’t clear whether Bahri and ADQ had pursued a bid and made no mention of UPS and DP World.

A Deutsche Bahn spokesperson told Air Cargo News: “In recent weeks, bidders had the opportunity to refine their non-binding offers for DB Schenker based on comprehensive information.

“These confirmed, non-binding offers have now been submitted and are being carefully evaluated before the next phase of the sale process begins promptly. The process is running according to plan.”

Earlier this year, AP Moller Maersk said it would consider making an offer after previously dismissing the idea.

Chief executive Vincent Clerc said the company had now changed its mind on a possible bid for the forwarder given the sector’s resilient earnings post-Covid and also an apparent change of perception from shippers when it comes to a carrier also owning a forwarder.

He pointed to the CMA CGM Group’s ownership of CEVA Logistics as an example of his latter point.

“Our strategy is very clear, we need to diversify our revenue streams and our earning streams towards the more stable and less volatile part of the supply chain, which is pretty much anything outside ocean/2PL,” he said.

“In that respect, having something like a Schenker coming on the market is definitely something that Maersk cannot simply say we are not even going to look at.”

DHL Group has declared itself out of the running for acquiring DB Schenker following much speculation over which company will buy the freight forwarder.

Deutsche Bahn announced at the end of last year that the forwarder was officially up for sale after spending a year mulling its options.

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.

If Maersk were to be successful, the takeover would push the Danish company close to the top three airfreight forwarders.

DSV, however, would become the world’s largest airfreight forwarder if its bid were successful, given it is currently ranked third and DB Schenker fourth.

More than 20 parties interested in buying DB Schenker

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]