European Union regulators said Friday that they had unconditionally approved FedEx’s $4.8 billion deal to buy its Dutch rival TNT Express. The announcement, which comes six months after the EU opened an antitrust probe, clears one of the biggest hurdles in the completion of the transaction.
“Following an in-depth investigation opened in July 2015, the Commission has concluded that the acquisition will not give rise to competition concerns, because FedEx and TNT are not particularly close competitors and because the merged entity will continue to face sufficient competition from its rivals in all markets concerned,” the European Commission said, in a statement released Friday.
The two companies had announced in April that FedEx would buy TNT for 4.4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in order to increase its presence in Europe and to better compete with Deutsche Post’s DHL. The announcement of the deal came just two years after European regulators blocked a bid by FedEX’s American rival UPS to buy TNT, saying that such a transaction would restrict competition in the express delivery sector in the EU, leading to higher prices for consumers.
However, approval for the FedEx-TNT deal was widely expected as the American parcel firm had announced in October that European regulators would not challenge the transaction.
“We are extremely pleased to receive the European Commission’s unconditional approval,” David Binks, president of FedEx Express in Europe, said, in a statement Friday. “We believe the combination of TNT Express and FedEx will provide significant value to the employees, customers and shareholders of both companies.”