CMA CGM confirms takeover talks with CP Ships
Fast-growing Marseilles-based carrier CMA CGM confirmed Wednesday it is in talks to acquire CP Ships, one week after the U.K.-based company formally issued a statement saying it is “in discussions regarding a possible transaction.”
Last week’s statement by CP Ships did not disclose the identity of the other party or parties involved, but industry rumors pointed to CMA CGM and China Shipping as the potential buyers of CP Ships.
A spokesman for CMA CGM said the company would not make any further comment on the takeover talks.
The announcements of talks between CMA CGM and CP Ships follow the industry consolidation lead triggered by A.P. Moller-Maersk’s larger-scale acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd.
CP Ships’ stock prices have not enjoyed the heights of other public container shipping companies, but rumors of the takeover rekindled its stock value. CP Ships’ stock closed up 4 percent at $18.22 on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday evening.
The takeover discussions represent a reversal of role for CP Ships, which has until now been one of the main buyers of other carriers, rather than a target of takeover.
Adding CMA CGM’s vessel fleet, amounting to about 440,000 TEUs, and CP Ships’ fleet, worth about 190,000 TEUs, would substantially raise the size of the combined group and make it the third-largest container carrier in the world after A.P. Moller-Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co. and before the Evergreen group.
In a separate development, CMA CGM said it continues to discuss the potential acquisition of medium-sized French carrier Delmas and related companies.