UPS, TNT continue merger talks after initial bid rejected

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Atlanta-based UPS said it remains in take-over talks after Dutch cargo airline TNT Express rejected an unsolicited €4.9 billion ($6.5 billion) offer.

UPS submitted a proposal on 11 February to acquire TNT Express at a price of €9 per ordinary share, according to UPS.

The UPS offer was rejected by the TNT Express supervisory and executive boards, TNT Express announced on 17 February.

TNT has reported a €97 million loss on more than €5.37 billion in revenue through the first three quarters of 2011.

Both companies said that discussions were ongoing despite the rejection by the TNT Express boards.

UPS also said that it submitted its offer on 11 February after holding discussions with the TNT Express leadership.

"Discussions between the parties concerning this proposal are ongoing, although there is currently no certainty that any agreement will be reached," UPS said.

TNT Express operates an international cargo airline under the TNT Airways banner. The airline's fleet includes 35 aircraft, according to the Flightglobal Pro database. Its aircraft range in size from the BAe 146-200 to the Boeing 747-400. TNT Airways recently received three Boeing 777-200s leased from Guggenheim Aviation Partners.

TNT Express had been a division of the TNT corporate parent until last May, when it was de-merged and the latter became PostNL.

A merger between TNT Express and UPS would unite two of the four largest cargo airlines, forming a formidable pairing against FedEx Express and DHL.