© Mariusz Bugno

Maersk has pulled out of its bid to buy DB Schenker, leaving just three in the race.

Maersk was believed to have offered some €15bn, but the company said today that, following an internal review, it thought integration would be too challenging.

Vincent Clerc, CEO, said: “Over the past months, Maersk has conducted a review of the DB Schenker business and, during the past few weeks, there has been an opportunity to participate in an in-depth due diligence. Following this review, Maersk has decided to withdraw from the process.

“We said we would look into this opportunity, and we did. Our investigation confirmed DB Schenker as an interesting company with a comprehensive portfolio in the logistics market and with further potential to unlock for the future.

“But the in-depth review also identified areas of challenges from an integration perspective and, ultimately, we concluded that acquiring DB Schenker would not be the right thing to do for our business at this time. It has been a good process, ensuring that we can make the most well-informed decision possible.”

German reports have focused on DB Schenker’s IT system, which is said to need some investment and could be too challenging a task to take on alongside operational integration.

One German source told The Loadstar the merger would have been a difficult balance between risk and opportunity and a huge job for Maersk, although DB Schenker was a “good company”.

Sources have previously suggested Maersk had found the Senator International integration challenging.

Maersk’s withdrawal leaves three in the running for Schenker: DSV; Barhi, the national shipping line of Saudi Arabia; and Scan Global Logistics owner CVC, along with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Singapore wealth fund GIC.

Maersk is thought to have been the highest bidder, or possibly in the middle of the pack, with DSV the lowest bidder.

And, according to Loadstar Premium today, Deutsche Bahn has left itself some wriggle room, with a clause reportedly allowing it to sell less than 100% – a clause which could put off M&A-hungry DSV.

Maersk not expected to rest on its M&A laurels, however, with its history of acquisitions and team of M&A specialists.

The source said Maersk would be better off taking market opportunities which do not risk the future of the company, adding: “It is more likely to look at targets which fit better with its strategy.”

Mr Clerc added: “Our strategic focus remains unchanged; acquisitions continue to be an important lever to scale our logistics business. We are committed to continue to grow in Europe, including Germany, and we see our organic growth in logistics gaining momentum. We are executing our growth plans in the terminals business and implementing a new ocean network. This is where our focus is, and we are fully dedicated to further unfolding all the potential that we see.”


Listen to the Loadstar’s latest News in Brief Podcast for a recap of last week’s supply chain news and insight into what might come up this week:

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