On Monday, the day before Deutsche Post DHL (DP DHL) announced its takeover of JF Hillebrand Group (JFH), valuing the target’s equity at €1.5bn ($1.8bn), I swiftly brainstormed on German M&A, among other things, with a senior deal-maker.

This guy is laser-focused on logistics and isn’t generally impressed by the speed at which state-owned firms in mighty Deutschland act in M&A. And, a couple of years ago, talking about JFH as a takeover candidate, he doubted “[JFH] would join forces with ...

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