The CMA CGM Group announced on April 18 that it has entered into "exclusive negotiations" to acquire the transportation and logistics activities held through Bolloré Logistics.


The takeover bid of the family-owned Bolloré Logistics worth US$5.5 billion, according to various reports, could see CMA CGM combining the logistics operations with its own, CEVA Logistics. 


End-to-end logistics offering


"The negotiations are in line with the CMA CGM Group's long-term strategy, based on the two pillars of shipping and logistics. The Group's strategy is to offer end-to-end solutions in support of its customer's supply chain needs," CMA CGM said in the announcement.


Bolloré Logistics, for its part, has confirmed the offer from CMA CGM — posting a separate announcement about the "exclusive negotiations."


"The Bolloré Group confirms that it has received a spontaneous offer from the CMA CGM Group for the acquisition of its transportation and logistics activities held through Bolloré Logistics, on the basis of a €5 billion cash-free/debt-free enterprise value," it said in a statement.


Preliminary discussions will take place to evaluate this project, the company, headquartered in headquarters in Puteaux, France said.


"Following this offer, the Bolloré Group and the CMA CGM Group entered into exclusive talks to enable a confirmatory due diligence process and engage in contractual negotiations of a put option, based on such offer, to be issued by CMA CGM, if it so decides, on or about May 8, 2023," it added.


It added that the current prospects for freight demand "impel us to be a global player," with a worldwide geographical footprint and local expertise.


"The joining of Bolloré Logistics' and CEVA Logistics, a subsidiary of the CMA CGM Group, owing mostly to the complementarity of their activities and networks, would pursue these same objectives," Bolloré said.


Nonetheless, the company maintained that at this stage, "this offer is still a project which, if carried out, will take several months to be implemented."


"Maintaining the continuity of our operations and honouring our commitments remain a priority for Bolloré Logistics," the French logistics firm added.


"Bolloré SE and CMA CGM will report on the outcome of these negotiations in due course. The transaction will remain in any event subject to regulatory approvals and no decision to sell will be taken until the end of the information and consultation procedures of the competent employee representative bodies," it further said.


CMA CGM said the acquisition of Bolloré Logistics would boost its line's logistics business — but the offer is nowhere final. 


"If a deal is reached, the acquisition would further strengthen the CMA CGM Group logistics activities," it said.


"The negotiations in no way guarantee an acquisition in the end," CMA CGM added.


Top 5 air freight forwarder


Figures from Armstrong & Associates ranked Bolloré Logistics as 10th in terms of yearly airfreight volumes with 656,000 tonnes — while CEVA, is 14th with 474,000 tonnes.


The proposed combination of Bolloré Logistics and CEVA would see the creation of the world’s fifth-largest airfreight forwarder, according to various reports.