GXO gatecrashes Wincanton deal with huge offer

Logistics giant GXO has spectacularly gatecrashed the proposed £605m deal to buy Wincanton after tabling a £762m bid for the business.

The offer from GXO, which owns Clipper Logistics, would see Wincanton investors receive 605p a share – way ahead of a initial offer of 480p a share from Ashby-based CEVA Logistics.

Malcolm Wilson, chief executive officer of GXO said: “Wincanton is a world class business, and we have long been impressed by their high-quality people and diverse customer relationships across key industries. The combination of GXO’s technological capabilities and global reach with Wincanton’s proven expertise in the UK and Ireland markets will enhance our offering for the benefit of both companies’ current and future customers. Our superior offer reflects our conviction in the value of this business and the opportunities the combined company will realize.

“GXO has a long heritage in the UK and a demonstrated track record of seamlessly integrating businesses in this market. We’re proud that our operations support the growth of UK companies, create high value jobs, and enhance the communities where we operate. As a focused, pure play logistics leader, we are committed to investing in superior, differentiated logistics solutions, and we are confident that this combination will generate significant value for our shareholders, customers, and employees alike.”

The move comes after CEVA Logistics increased its offer for Wincanton on Monday morning (February 26) and locked in the support of major shareholders in response to the emergence of a possible rival bid.

Wincanton revealed it has provided access to due diligence information to an unnamed company that is a “potential competing bidder”.

CEVA upped last month’s bid by £38m to £605m for the Chippenham-headquartered company. The 480p-per-share offer is 62% higher than Wincanton’s share price the day before the takeover process began.

Last Friday and Sunday CEVA also secured irrevocable undertakings from Aberforth Partners and The Wellcome Trust to vote for the deal. The two organisations have 16.16% of the company.

CEVA already had confirmed support from directors and shareholders who represent 19.42% of the shareholding.

However, this morning (March 1), Wincanton’s directors withdrew their support for the CEVA bid and threw their weight behind the GXO offer.

Sir Martin Read CBE, chairman of Wincanton, said: “We have long been clear that Wincanton is a great business with a compelling strategy, strong customer relationships and excellent people. Under the current management team, we have made positive progress and ensured that Wincanton is at the forefront of logistics innovation. The board of Wincanton is pleased that GXO recognises the very significant value inherent in this business and intends to recommend the offer to shareholders for their consideration.”