EU court strikes down 2013 decision to block UPS-TNT deal

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 7, 2017 at 7:25 a.m.

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BRUSSELS (AP) — A European Union court on Tuesday struck down a 2013 decision by EU regulators to block a planned takeover of Dutch-based package delivery company TNT Express by United Parcel Services Inc.

The EU's executive Commission blocked the proposed $6.9 billion deal in January 2013, arguing that the combined company would have been too dominant in European express mail. UPS scrapped the plan but appealed against the ruling.

The 28-nation EU's General Court upheld the appeal on Tuesday, citing a procedural irregularity.

It argued that an analysis used by the Commission in its decision was based on a model different from one that had been discussed during the clearance proceedings. It found that the Commission "infringed UPS' rights of defense."

TNT has since been acquired by FedEx Corp.

Asked about the ruling, Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said that the EU executive is "studying it very carefully" but has no further comment at this stage.

UPS said it is "pleased to see that its reasoning was upheld." The most significant aspect of the ruling, it said in an emailed statement, was "its impact in helping to preserve a competitive environment in Europe by clarifying the procedure and relevant criteria for merger approval."

The statement didn't address the question of whether the company might seek damages.

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