US delivery giant FedEx employs nearly 400,000 people
The Hague - AFP
US delivery giant FedEx now owns over 98 percent of Dutch rival TNT, the two companies announced Thursday as they move to complete a key $4.4 billion tie-up after winning EU approval.
The deal unveiled in April 2015 came two years after the European Commission, the European Union's powerful executive arm, had torpedoed a bid by FedEx's US rival UPS to buy TNT Express.
In a joint statement, FedEx and TNT Express said that following an initial deadline to sell shares to the US giant, FedEx now owned 98.45 percent of TNT shares.
The two companies will now seek to complete the buyout in the third quarter of this year when FedEx will own 100 percent of TNT.
TNT will request a delisting from the Amsterdam-based EuroNext exchange as soon as possible.
The move is a key tie-up for the fast-growing e-commerce delivery business, allowing the Memphis-based FedEx greater access to European markets.
Brussels last year opened an investigation into the takeover citing concerns the deal could lead to higher prices for consumers who are increasingly buying online and getting packages delivered directly to them.
But the probe concluded that "European consumers will not be adversely affected by the transaction," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in January.
TNT Express went through extensive restructuring after the UPS bid failed, cutting 4,000 jobs. It now employs some 56,000 people around the world.
FedEx employs nearly 400,000 people worldwide with annual revenues of $49 billion.