The European Union’s antitrust section is investigating whether FedEx’ proposed acquisition of Dutch rival TNT Express would be an anti-competitive deal, in the European parcel delivery market, the European Commission said in a press release.
The EC said it was concerned that the merged entity would face “insufficient competitive constraints in express and ground delivery from the only two remaining players (UPS and DHL) in a number of European markets.” It has until Dec. 7 to make its ruling on whether to approve the merger.
“Many businesses, and in particular ecommerce, rely heavily on affordable and reliable small package delivery services, and many consumers depend on these services to ensure rapid and safe delivery of goods they have bought,” said EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager in a statement. “The Commission must therefore make sure that FedEx’s takeover of TNT would not impede effective competition and would not lead to higher prices for consumers.” The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2016.
FedEx and TNT announced the $4.8 billion deal in April. UPS dropped its bid for TNT in 2013 amid antitrust concerns from EU officials. UPS is also investing heavily in the European market, with plans to invest $1 billion by 2019, much of it focused on logistics operations in Germany.
Another indicator of how hot the global shipping game has become came in November, when DHL Global Mail was rebranded as DHL eCommerce to focus on providing customers with new solutions as ecommerce markets rapidly develop and expand.