DSV Nears Deal to Buy Panalpina After Improving Offer

(Bloomberg) -- DSV A/S is nearing an agreement to acquire Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG, the Swiss freight forwarder that’s been fighting for its independence, after the Danish suitor improved its offer, according to people familiar with the situation.

An agreement could be announced as early as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. DSV’s sweetened bid has won the support of the Ernst Goehner Foundation, which owns 46 percent of Panalpina and rebuffed an earlier offer, said the people. Talks are ongoing and could still fall apart, the people said.

DSV made an initial 17O Swiss franc stock-and-cash offer for Panalpina in January, before sweetening its initial bid to an all-cash 180 Swiss francs per share a month later, valuing the target at about 4.3 billion Swiss francs ($4.3 billion). The value of the latest offer couldn’t be immediately learned.

A representative for Panalpina declined to comment. DSV couldn’t be immediately reached for comment outside regular business hours.

An agreement would mark an end to weeks of speculation about the future of Panalpina, which in mid-February announced talks with Agility for a logistics tie-up of its own in an effort to avoid being taken over by DSV. Panalpina minority shareholders, including Cevian Capital AB and Artisan Partners, went public with comments in favor of a DSV takeover, adding pressure on Panalpina’s management and the foundation.

For DSV, the purchase of Panalpina would mean success in the pursuit of a Swiss logistics company after a failed attempt to buy Ceva Logistics AG last year.

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