Tag Archives: TNT Express UPS bid

TNT Express (NL0009739424) – “post mortem”

As it is commonly known, free lunches are few and rare in the stock market.

Another proof for this was last week’s termination of the TNT Express takeover by UPS.

I was quite lucky that I didn’t join in the “trade“, despite considering it quite seriously. My final decision was based on the believe that in such a “crowded” market like merger arbitrage, if a situation looks too good to be true, most likely it isn’t true.

Interestingly enough, a lot of “players” must still have believed in the deal. Looking at the chart, we can see that TNT is now trading relatively close to the lower bound of the “undisturbed” price before UPS came up with the bid:

As discussed in the previous post, at the current level, TNT Express is still not cheap, for instance compared to FedEx.

On the other hand, UPS seems to have been better off without TNT Express if we believe in “Mr. Market” as they have outperfomed the Dow Jones by almost 10%:

To me, this looks like that the offered price of 9,50 EUR was way too high and UPS realized this at some point in time and did not really try hard to get the deal through. For a company like UPS, blaming it to the EC is always a “face-saving” possibility.

However that also means that the price tag of UPS might never be reached again, even if FedEx would show up as potential buyer. On the other hand, TNT Express might still benefit by being spun off from POstNL which is crippled by pension liabilities and the terminally declining mail business.

PostNL Was even hit harder, dropping to a new all time low:

This might have to do also with Moody’s recent downgrade.

At the moment, both, PostNl and TNT Express are too much “hot potato” type investments, but it is definitely something for my “special situation” watch list. I think it will be especially interesting to see if TNT Express is able to turn around the business on a standalone basis.

Alsi for the future, I think it is the safest to keep away from Merger Arbitrage situations for my special situation “bucket”, as this requires very special skills which I do not have.

Edit:
It seems that French activist investor Lutetia is trying to start a campaign for PostNL. This could bcaome interesting at some point. Lutetia also showed up (quite succesful so far) in the SIAS Spa case.

A few more thoughts on TNT Express – Implied probability of deal happening is only 19%

Yesterday’s post was of course only a first step towards a potential “special situation” investment.

In order to decide if this is actually an interesting investment, one would need to come up with

A) some more considerations with regard to timing
B) at least a rough idea about intrinsic value

With regard to timing, I think it makes sense to look at Rhoen Klinikum, where there was a similar situation:

On April 26th, Fresenius offered 22,50 EUR per share from an “undisturbed” level of 14.76 EUR the day before. Then, when doubts came up, the stock went down to around 16 EUR before once again climbing to around 20 EUR, before then the deal fell apart. Interestingly, the current share price seems to have a floor at the previous undisturbed level.

For TNT Express, the truly “undisturbed” price the day before the offer was 6,34 EUR, so the current price is around 10% higher than that level.

Just as a side remark:

There were a couple of articles which said that there is now a 50/50 chance of the deal happening, like here.

However at current prices(6.95 EUR) we can relatively easily calculate the implied probability of the deal happening:

Undisturbed price: 6.34 EUR
Current prcie: 6.95 EUR
Offer price: 9,50 EUR

So the implied probabality of the deal happening can be calculated the following way:

(6.95-6.34) / (9.50-6.34) = 19.3%.

Anyone who thinks that there is really a 50/50 chance of the deal happening should buy now as the expected share price under this assumption should be 7.92 EUR (6.34 + (9.5-6.34)/2).

Going back to timing: What we haven’t seen here is a upmove of the stock like we have seen with Rhoen. So far we only saw the price going doen and the implied probability of the deal happening decreasing.

B) intrinsic value

This is somwhow difficult. The 9,50 EUR is a “private market” value, maybe including a premium for synergies.

TNT Express since its spin off has yet to prove that they can achieve margins like their competitors. Based on Q3 numbers, they are curently heading to something like 220 mn “operating income” or EBITDA for 2012 which equals an “operating margin” of only 3%.

UPS for example has an operating margin of 11.4%, FedEx of 7.8%. Deutsche Post has an ~9% EBIT Margin in the Express segment. So TNT has definitely some room to improve.

If we assume 8% operating margin, TNT would show ~600 mn EBITDA. Current EV is 3.5 bn, potential EV/EBITDA ~6.

This is much lower than UPS (10x EV/EBITDA) but higher than Fedex (4.9x). Deutsche Post is at 5 times EV/EBITDA.

So at current prices and assuming quite a turn around, TNT Express is not really cheap. So any investment would be a pure “Merger arbitrage” or “control premium” inevstment which might or not work out.

No action yet.

Edit: During writing this post, the share price jumped some 3.5% compared to yesterday, is this the first leg of the rebound ?…..