© DB Schenker

Move aside, DSV? More than 20 bidders have reportedly expressed interest in buying DB Schenker, including several Arab companies and funds, as well as private equity companies – although, according to some media, the list has already been whittled down to just a handful.

Alongside the more obvious logistics company bidders, sources have said other interested parties include DP World, and sovereign fund ADQ, which has been shoring up its transport and logistics arm recently. ADQ owns Etihad, Etihad Rail, Abu Dhabi Airports and AD Ports Group.

Outside the UAE, Saudi Arabian shipping company Bahri, which has 94 ships and a logistics arm, is also reportedly interested.  

Both DP World and AD Ports have been bolstering their businesses via M&A in recent years. AD Ports, for example, did five M&A deals last year, worth AED2.2bn ($600m), less than the AED5.9bn in 2022, but mostly focusing on bolt-on small and medium acquisitions. 

Bahri, also known as National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia, appears less M&A-hungry, although in 2022, it bought the remaining 40% of Bahri Bolloré Logistics to bring its ownership to 100%. It had revenues of SAR8.8bn ($2.34bn) last year, leading to net income of SAR1.6bn ($430m).  

Then there is the highly ambitious Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, which manages some $700bn in assets, which it is planning to grow to $1.07trn by 2025.

According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, the German government has some reservations about selling Schenker to non-European companies, owing to security concerns – but it is also after a large pile of hard cash, which may swing the deal in the end – and it is expected that an Arab investor may be able to offer the most money.  

Handelsblatt added that opposition to an Arab investor across German political parties is waning. For one thing, there is less likelihood of competition issues and, potentially, fewer job losses, one of the major concerns over a DSV acquisition. 

DSV may, according to some observers, add a clause in its offer limiting job losses, but there is uncertainty over whether that would be enforceable. A deal would, however, according to analysts at Børsen, be a hefty boost for DSV, lifting ebit for the Danish forwarder by some $1.25bn. 

Among the other potential suitors from the logistics scene, Kuehne + Nagel is thought to have submitted a bid, but DHL and Maersk are considered to be only lukewarm about a potential buy. 

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