Rival bidder revealed in £600m-plus race for Wincanton

The bidder aiming to gatecrash the £605m takeover of logistics giant Wincanton by Ashby rival CEVA Logistics has been revealed.

GXO, which owns Clipper Logistics, is said to be preparing a counter-bid for Wincanton, according to Sky News.

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 has 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.

On 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, any new offer from GXO could scupper hopes of a smooth deal for CEVA.

A statement from Wincanton said: “Although GXO has indicated that it is considering making a proposal for a cash offer, as of the date of this announcement, it has not provided the board of Wincanton with any formal proposal relating to a possible offer, including as to terms or price. If any such proposal is provided by GXO the Board of Wincanton will carefully consider its terms, in conjunction with its advisers.

“There can be no certainty that an offer by GXO will be made for the company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made. Accordingly, shareholders are advised to take no action at this time with regard to the approach by GXO.

“The Wincanton directors continue to recommend unanimously to Wincanton shareholders the increased and final cash offer by CEVA.”

Wincanton’s share price rose steeply on Monday, reaching 502.5p at close of trading – giving the firm a market value of almost £626m.

The firm’s approximately 20,300-strong team operates from more than 170 sites across the country, responsible for approximately 8,500 vehicles

CEVA has its UK headquarters in Ashby-de-la-Zouch and is ultimately owned by CMA CGM, a global player in sea, land, air and logistics solutions.