German Post Buys in US and UK; Faces Problems in Brussels

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BONN - Deutsche Post AG continues on the acquisition binge it has followed since buying Global Mail in 1998. Earlier this month Global Mail bought NY-based QuickMAIL and in March DP acquired the UK's Herald International Mailing.


No price was announced for either acquisition but London-based Herald has annual sales of 14.5 million pounds sterling ($23.2 million), while QuickMAIL's sales volume was $24 million.


Purchase prices, analysts said, were probably in that range. Deutsche Post has now spent upwards of $6.5 billion over the last two years buying logistics, transportation, freight forwarders and other firms in the US and Europe.


The acquisition, the Germans said, strengthens their position on the US market. "It solidifies our position on the corporate mail market," said Global Mail spokesman Glenn Cafritz.


"It just continues our reach into the corporate mail market, even though they focus on publication accounts. It's a good marriage and enhances what we can offer our clients."


Global Mail will integrate QuickMAIL, the international mail division of Quick International Courier, immediately but will retain management and continue to operate the division under the same people and guidelines, Cafritz said.


"Quick is a perfect fit for us. They have experienced sales teams in cities where we have a presence but where theirs is stronger and the synergies from sales and operations will be tremendous."


QuickMAIL sales people are hubbed in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York as well as throughout the Northeast, Cafritz said.


Herald International Mailings is one of the three largest private international mailers in the UK and the acquisition strengthens DP's position in the letter market.


The company will become part of DP's subsidiary, International Mail Services, the German Post's cross-border mail arm which has offices in the US, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Holland, Singapore and Australia.


In another development, Deutsche Post may face new difficulties in Brussels that press reports say could torpedo the post office's planned IPO later this year.


UPS is engaged in a long-running dispute with DP dating back to 1994 over charges that the Germans cross-subsidized their money-losing parcel operations with monies from the lucrative letter mail monopoly. The EC is expected to issue a ruling before the summer break.


The influential newspaper "Handelsblatt," the German version of the Wall Street Journal, reported last month that in view of the uncertain outcome banks are unable to determine an issue price for the post office stock.


Deutsche Post declined comment on the report, but spokesman Uwe Bensien said that "we are confident that the EU will reach a decision well before the IPO and that the outcome will be in our favor."
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