CMA CGM bids $5.5 billion for Bollore Logistics Unit Ship’s crew

By Tara Patel and Benoit Berthelot (Bloomberg) —

Rodolphe Saade, the French billionaire at the helm of shipping giant CMA CGM SA, has shown no signs of slowing down his protracted acquisition spree and made an unsolicited €5 billion ($5.5 billion) offer to buy the logistics arm of Bollore SE.

Bollore, a holding company controlled by another ultra-rich and business-hungry French businessman, Vincent Bollore, received a non-binding offer from CMA CGM, according to a statement Tuesday. Bloomberg News reported in February that Marseille-based CMA CGM, controlled by the Saade family, was interested in acquiring the unit.

CMA CGM aims to make a final offer around May 8 following review and contract negotiations, the release said. The potential acquisition is part of its strategy to move forward in both logistics and shipping, CMA CGM said in a separate statement.

Bollore shares rose as much as 5.5% in Paris trading.

Saade, who took over from his late father as chief executive officer of the world’s third-largest container line, was caught in a contract crisis and spent some of the windfall profits made during the Covid-19 health crisis when freight rates soared to record levels and supply chains have been disrupted. CMA CGM 2022 net earnings rose to a record $24.9 billion, exceeding $17.9 billion in 2021.

Similarly, Vincent Bollore was already involved in mergers and acquisitions prior to this final move. He recently completed the €5.7 billion sale of his group’s African ports business to MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., a top container line led by billionaire Gianluigi Aponte.

Should the deal with CMA CGM go through, Bollore would be leaving the logistics business he has been building for most of his career. Armed with an even larger war chest, he would be expected to focus on his media fortune, the second mainstay of his industrial empire.

Living Deployment

According to analysts, Bollore could increase his stake in conglomerate Vivendi SE, a company in which he is already a majority shareholder. The 71-year-old has already begun to transform Vivendi through Universal Music Group’s IPO in 2021, in which he retained a 10% stake.

With activities in pay-tv via Canal+, advertising and press, Vivendi is currently focused on acquiring media competitor Lagardere SA, which owns Hachette, the third largest publisher in the world.

For his part, Saade has already spent billions on transportation and logistics facilities, although he has also gone aggressively in the media.

In 2021, CMA CGM entered into agreements to acquire Ingram Micro Inc.’s e-commerce contract logistics business for $3 billion including debt and agreed to purchase a container terminal in the Port of Los Angeles for an enterprise value of $2.3 billion dollars too. More recently CMA CGM agreed to buy two other major US shipping terminals owned by Global Container Terminals Inc., one in New York and the other in New Jersey.

Media department

The 53-year-old Lebanese-born manager has also created a media division within CMA CGM for assets including La Provence, a regional newspaper in Marseille and a 10% stake in French TV channel M6. He also acquired a 16 percent stake in Brut, a youth-focused online media platform.

The Saade family is worth $32.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, while Vincent Bollore is worth an estimated $9.4 billion.

On a trip to China this month as part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s business delegation, Saade praised Bollore’s logistics department.

“They are doing a great job in logistics,” he told Bloomberg News. “We have great respect for them.”

Cook According to the company, Logistics employs 15,000 people in 148 countries website. It manages hundreds of thousands of tons of air and ocean freight for companies in industries ranging from healthcare to food and beverage.

CMA CGM’s own logistics business operates in more than 160 Countries that offer air and sea freight.

–With the support of Samy Adghirni, Angelina Rascouet and Francois de Beaupuy.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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