EU General Court – EC wrong to block UPS / TNT merger

Better late than never for some, but the General Court of the European Union has ruled that the European Union acted wrongly in blocking the merger of TNT and UPS four years ago.

According to the Court, the EC had ‘infringed UPS’ rights of defence’ by basing its final decision on an econometric analysis that differed from the one that the EC had discussed with UPS during the process leading to the decision.

TNT was bought by FedEx in a deal that was approved by the EC and a number of other regions’ and countries’ regulatory bodies in 2016.

Legal sources have advised other media outlets that ‘you can’t rewrite history’. This will mean that the General Court ruling won’t have any bearing on the FedEx / TNT merger. UPS however could try to claim for damages against the EC, and the ruling may also put pressure on the EC to make sure it is a lot more careful on how it proceeds with future investigations of this kind.

UPS didn’t take the refusal of the merger lightly, as can be seen in its challenge in the EU General Court. Wherever possible during the acquisition of TNT by FedEx, UPS did interfere, culminating in a brief blockage of the deal by the Brazilian competitions authority, although this was sufficiently weak that it didn’t last long enough to do any damage. There will be sour grapes indeed for UPS but alas, that is all they’ll get from this ruling… 
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