Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s second-largest ocean container line, has made an offer to acquire the Africa division of Bolloré Group, the France-based third-party logistics provider announced Monday.
The move is part of a recent trend that has seen ocean carriers and terminal operators become more vertically integrated freight transportation and logistics providers to diversify their revenue streams and offer customers holistic supply chain solutions based on variable needs. Supply chain disruptions during the pandemic have heightened cargo owners’ interest in having alternative freight transportation strategies and capabilities.
The MSC Group, based in Switzerland, is offering to buy 100% of Bolloré Africa Logistics at an enterprise value of 5.7 billion euros ($6.7 billion), not including any minority interests in the company.
The Bolloré Group said it has granted MSC Group exclusive rights until March 31, 2022, to conduct negotiations and comprehensive appraisal of the business.
Any final agreement is contingent on consultation with labor unions and reorganization of certain internal Bolloré operations. Completion of the sale would require approval by relevant regulatory bodies as well as certain counterparties of Bolloré Africa Logistics.
Bolloré is ranked as the 21st largest logistics provider in the world, based on gross revenue of $5.3 billion in 2020, according to consultancy Armstrong & Associates.
MSC already has a logistics arm called MedLog, which provides inland truck, rail and barge transportation for customers with door-to-door delivery contracts using a combination of owned and contracted assets. It also operates container freight stations where truck transfers can take place away from ports and containers are stuffed and unloaded. MedLog also is a contract logistics provider that plans and manages the distribution of goods from origin to destination.
This year has seen a flurry of M&A activity by ocean shipping lines in the logistics area. CMA CGM launched an air cargo airline earlier this year and this month agreed to buy the e-commerce and life cycle units of technology wholesaler Ingram Micro.
Maersk, the top container line, struck a deal to acquire German freight forwarder Senator International and is expanding its in-house cargo airline. Earlier this year it acquired three e-commerce companies in Europe.
Global port operator PSA International also plans to acquire Philadelphia-based forwarder BDP International next year.
Record profits are enabling ocean carriers to be more acquisitive than ever before.
Bolloré is a Paris-listed transportation and telecommunications conglomerate that specializes in logistics and manufacturing of electricity storage and electric vehicles. Its shares are controlled by the Bolloré family.