‘Substantial Megadeal Growth’ In Second Quarter Transportation and Logistics M&A
Mergers and acquisitions activity in the transportation and logistics sector grew in the second quarter of 2015, according to a recently-released report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The activity was characterized by “substantial megadeal growth,” up 36 percent compared to the first quarter, and increases in average deal value, to $564 million.
Nine of the deals were valued at a total $23.6 billion, representing nearly 70 percent of deal value for the quarter.
“Megadeals were primarily driven by the need to fill a specific need or gap, gain scale, and drive profitability,” said the report.
FedEx announced its intention to launch a tender offer to acquire Netherlands-based TNT Express, an all-cash acquisition valued at $4.8 billion. The deal “is expected to improve FedEx’s European capabilities and accelerate global growth,” noted PwC. “At the completion of the transaction, FedEx will become the largest package delivery provider in Europe.”
Cross-border and service-line expansion were drivers for many of the second-quarter deals, particularly in advanced economies. Cross-border deals were driven by strategic investors seeking opportunities to improve geographic reach and long-term growth.
Second quarter activity was concentrated in trucking and logistics which accounted for a combined value of over 50 percent of the quarter’s deal volume. Trucking deals represented 28 percent of deal volume, compared to 22 percent in the first quarter.
Of the nine megadeals in the first quarter, the largest, the FedEx-TNT acquisition, was a logistics transaction. Three of the megadeals were trucking-related, U.S.-based XPO Logistics’ acquisition of 67 percent of Groupe Norbert Dentressangle, a French provider of local freight trucking, for $2.76 billion. “This acquisition is well aligned with XPO’s strategy to become a global supply chain solution provider,” said the PwC report.
Ten deals were based in China, all of them local market acquisitions related to the Chinese government’s efforts to consolidate infrastructure and compete with global transportation companies. “A growing Chinese middle class and an increasingly export-driven economy were major impetuses for activity,” said the report, “as industry players looked to improve scale and efficiency.”
PwC expects transportation and logistics M&A activity to remain robust for the remainder of the year, especially for deals initiated by U.S. companies. With the U.S. dollar advancing against many currencies, cross-border acquisitions by U.S. companies become cheaper.
In emerging economies, companies “see the need for increased efficiencies and scope, which can be achieved through inorganic means,” said the report.
Decreasing fuel prices also make M&As more attractive. Lower expenses, noted the report, make available additional funds for activities such as M&A.”