MSC to Acquire French Freight Forwarder as Sector Consolidation Accelerates

MSC continues its acquisition buying another freight forwarder (Felixstowe file photo)

Published Mar 22, 2024 6:30 PM by The Maritime Executive


MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has agreed to acquire French freight forwarder Clasquin as it works to build out its global network. The negotiations were first announced in December and now the companies report terms have been reached for the acquisition, which will be completed by MSC subsidiary SAS Shipping Agencies Services Sàrl.

Clasquin, a mid-sized international freight forwarder and overseas logistics company, highlights that for more than 40 years it has been designing and managing the entire overseas transport and logistics chain, organizing, and coordinating the flow of client shipments between France and the rest of the world. The company manages shipments both by land and sea to and from Asia-Pacific, North America, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. Management highlights that there will be strong synergies with MSC’s African logistics operations, which were acquired from Bollore

The transport and logistics market according to Clasquin management is fragmented with many small, local players and international giants. They created a unique position between the local players and international giants. However, after a successful international growth strategy, analysts point out that the shipping companies are consolidating and becoming more concentrated.

MSC approached Clasquin in December and commenced a due diligence. Terms have now been reached with the management and key shareholders tendering 42 percent of the company at approximately $155 per share. They highlight that the offer price represents a nearly 60 percent premium to the last closing price before news of the MSC approach became public. It is a further 13 percent premium to the current market price.

SAS will make a tender for the remaining shares of Clasquin. They reported that SAS intends to proceed with a squeeze-out should conditions be met after the closing.

The management of Clasquin is supporting the transaction. They report the company will continue to operate under its current management and name after the acquisition.

It is the latest in a series of transactions in the sector by the largest shipping companies. CMA CGM recently completed its acquisition of the global operations of Bollore Logistics but lost out on its bid to acquire UK-based Wincanton. 

The sector is now gearing up for a likely bidding battle as DB Schenker, one of the largest logistics and freight companies. Parent company Deutsche Bahn reported that more than 20 companies have registered interest in acquiring the freight forwarded after it confirmed that it was starting a bidding process. AP Moller – Maersk recently said it was considering an offer and MSC is rumored to also be considering a bid for Schenker. AD Ports Group is also rumored to be a possible bidder as the consolidation of the sector continues.