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Maersk Considers Bid for DB Schenker in Strategic Shift

Global shipping giant AP Moller Maersk is contemplating the possibility of making an offer to acquire DB Schenker, a leading airfreight forwarder, despite previously dismissing such notions. The change in stance was revealed by Maersk’s Chief Executive, Vincent Clerc, following the announcement of the company’s fourth-quarter results.

Vincent Clerc emphasized that Maersk’s reconsideration stems from the resilient earnings displayed by the logistics sector post-Covid. He highlighted a notable shift in shippers’ perceptions regarding carriers owning forwarders, citing the CMA CGM Group’s successful ownership of CEVA Logistics as an influential example.

“Our strategy is very clear, we need to diversify our revenue streams and our earning streams towards the more stable and less volatile part of the supply chain,” Clerc stated, underscoring the significance of exploring opportunities beyond the ocean/2PL domain.

Despite acknowledging the potential challenges associated with the size and consequences of the deal, Clerc emphasized the need for Maersk to explore the prospect. He pointed out the changing dynamics in the freight forwarding sector, particularly the enhanced resilience of earnings post-Covid, as observed in companies like Schenker and its competitors.

Clerc drew attention to the successful integration of 2PL and 3PL offerings under the same roof by CMA CGM, hinting that perceived de-synergies may not be as significant as previously thought. He emphasized the responsibility of Maersk to thoroughly investigate the potential acquisition and evaluate its impact on the logistics landscape.

DB Schenker’s current owner, Deutsche Bahn, officially put the forwarder up for sale at the end of the previous year after a year of consideration. Interested parties, including industry giants like Maersk, MSC, DSV, UPS, DHL, DP World, and Abu Dhabi Ports, had until January 15 to request additional information and until February 6 to submit their registration documents.

Potential investors are required to demonstrate experience in logistics M&A deals of this magnitude and possess the necessary financial resources. The sales documents indicate a preference for a complete sale, though interest in less than 100% of the shares would be considered.

Rumors suggest that up to 25 companies could be eyeing the acquisition of DB Schenker. If Maersk’s bid proves successful, it could propel the Danish company into close competition with the top three airfreight forwarders. Combined volumes from Maersk and Schenker would total 1.53 million tonnes based on 2022 figures, positioning them just behind the third-placed DSV.

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