Wincanton backs £762m takeover offer from GXO amid bidding war

The logistics giant has backed a larger bid after previously agreeing to an offer from Ceva Logistics. Credit: PA images

Bosses at logistics giant Wincanton have agreed to the latest takeover offer from a US suitor following a battle to buy the firm.

On Thursday, GXO Logistics – a US-based logistics group – revealed it had made a 605p-a-share cash offer for Wiltshire-headquartered Wincanton, valuing it at around £762 million.

Wincanton’s directors had previously agreed to a bid by Ceva Logistics – part of French shipping specialist CMA CGM – which valued Wincanton at £605 million.

However, on Friday, the firm said it would withdraw its backing from the deal and support the larger bid from GXO.

The offer represents a 104% premium on the price of shares in January, before takeover interest in the firm was first raised.

Sir Martin Read, chairman at Wincanton, said: “We have long been clear that Wincanton is a great business with a compelling strategy, strong customer relationships and excellent people.

“Under the current management team, we have made positive progress and ensured that Wincanton is at the forefront of logistics innovation.

“The board of Wincanton is pleased that GXO recognises the very significant value inherent in this business and intends to recommend the offer to shareholders for their consideration.”

GXO specialises in using automation technology to help its customers manage their supply chains and bought Leeds-based rival Clipper in a £965 million deal in 2022.

Wincanton has more than 20,000 staff and also manages elements of its customers’ supply chains, working with brands from IKEA and Primark to Waitrose and Wickes.

GXO said on Thursday there would likely be some impact on support staff if its “superior” bid is successful amid plans to overhaul administrative functions, but said this would likely affect 0.2% of the 150,000 combined workforce, or around 300 jobs.

It added: “While synergies are expected from combining support functions, GXO expects overall headcount will increase long term as part of ongoing efforts to grow its UK operations.”

It expects to be able to strip out around £50 million in “synergies” by the third year after the deal.