Deutsche Post Purchases Global Mail

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Deutsche Post AG, the second-largest postal service worldwide after the U.S. Postal Service, said last week that it will acquire Global Mail Ltd., Sterling, VA, a $42 million international mail service provider specializing in distributing newsletters, publications, daily correspondences and direct mail pieces from the United States internationally.

The company was acquired for an undisclosed sum. According to both companies, the partnership between Deutsche Post, a private $16 billion company, and Global Mail, the largest private provider of customized and value-added services to the U.S.-to-international mail market, will offer enhanced service and a broader product range to customers in the United States, Europe and other markets.

Mailing insiders said the partnership will let the two companies compete more aggressively with the USPS and other competitors in the U.S.-to-international mail market, such as UPS and Federal Express. Business mailers are finding these partnerships -- where international mail companies can ship mail overseas in bulk and then mail those items at a foreign post office -- can cut prices.

Other mailing companies recognize the trend. In July, Royal Mail U.S. Inc., the division of Britain's Royal Mail that mails First-Class letters and advertising mail from the United States internationally, launched a five-year plan to develop a stronghold in the U.S. market and become a leader in the U.S.-to-international mailing market. Currently, it's the No. 4 player in this marketplace.

The time is ripe for internationally-based companies to compete with the USPS, especially since Congress is considering legislation that may subject it to restrictions regarding international mail. The State Department, for example, may have to represent the USPS at the Universal Postal Union, thereby stripping the postal service of some of its power. Deutsche Post Global Mail, and Royal Mail, however, would be freed from these types of restrictions.

However, in a statement, Klaus Zumwinkel, chairman of the management board of Deutsche Post, said its partnership with Global Mail won't infringe on the wide-ranging partnership his company has with the USPS, which ensures the flow and distribution of mail between Europe and the United States.

Meanwhile, Global Mail is embroiled in a lawsuit with the USPS. The mailer is trying to stop the postal service from using the service mark "Global Priority Mail" because it's too similar to its own "Global Mail" mark.

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