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GXO offers $965 million for UK logistics firm Wincanton

Offer tops prior bid by rival Ceva Logistics

GXO makes bid for UK logistics firm Wincanton (Photo: GXO Logistics)

Contract logistics provider GXO Logistics Inc. (NYSE: GXO) said Thursday it has made a $965 million, or $7.65 per share, all-cash offer for U.K. logistics firm Wincanton, topping by 26% an offer made earlier this week by French logistics rival Ceva Logistics.

The latest step in the bidding war involving one of the U.K.’s largest logistics firms sent Wincanton’s shares soaring in London trading. Shares were up 20% from Wednesday’s close. 

Wincanton’s board earlier this week agreed to an improved, final offer from Ceva of about $764.3 million, which was raised from an initial bid of about $716.5 million in January after GXO expressed interest in the company. On Tuesday, Wincanton’s board unanimously recommended that shareholders accept Ceva’s revised offer.

GXO said that it has received support from shareholders controlling about 34% of Wincanton’s shares. 

Ceva was acquired by French transport giant CMA CGM in 2019. CMA CGM was unavailable to comment on Greenwich, Connecticut-based GXO’s offer.

Founded in 1925 as a milk hauler, Wincanton is a key player in the aerospace, electric utilities and industrial categories, verticals that GXO highlighted in its announcement.

“Wincanton is a world-class business, and we have long been impressed by their high-quality people and diverse customer relationships across key industries,” said Malcom Wilson, GXO’s CEO. Wilson added that “our superior offer reflects our conviction in the value of this business and the opportunities the combined company will realize.”

GXO, which serves 27 countries including those in the U.K. and continental Europe, said the proposed acquisition will provide it with a “springboard” to offer industrial services across Europe.” Wincanton customers will be able to leverage GXO’s network to expand their operations, GXO said.

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.