UPS Sues European Union Antitrust Agency over TNT Express Denial

UPS has filed a lawsuit against the European Union’s antitrust agency, seeking $2.15 billion (1.74 billion Euros) for its 2013 decision which scuttled the carrier’s planned acquisition of Netherlands-based TNT Express.

The European Commission claimed in its decision that the proposed $7 billion acquisition would be anti-competitive. Yet despite this ruling, the EC later approved the purchase of TNT by rival FedEx, which took place in May 2016 after a lengthy international review.

The agency’s denial of the UPS-TNT deal was overturned last year by an EU court, based on procedural missteps, opening the door for the new lawsuit. The commission is appealing that ruling.

“We feel strongly that the proposed acquisition would have constituted a good deal for logistics customers,” said Gregg Svingen, a spokesman for UPS in a statement. “The compensation being sought corresponds to what we believe, through objective assessments verified by expert third parties, to be the value of the opportunity wrongly prohibited by the European Commission.”

Svingen said UPS continues to remain “bullish on Europe,” which it has served since entering the German market 40 years ago; Europe represents half of the company’s international volume and revenue.

“We remain focused on executing a disciplined business strategy, continuing progress on our European investment program and leveraging the significant growth opportunities we see in Europe and around the world,” he said.

While UPS later countered with the 2017 acquisition of UK-based freight brokerage Freightex, the addition of TNT significantly strengthened FedEx’ position in the EU market, giving it logistics assets that UPS coveted as well.

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