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AMSTERDAM Dec 7 Dutch postal company PostNL
rejected a raised 2.54 billion euro ($2.7 billion)
takeover offer from Belgium's Bpost on Wednesday,
saying it lacked political support and would hurt profit.
PostNL shares slumped more than 9 percent to 4.30 euros
following the announcement, well below Bpost's Dec. 1 offer of
5.75 euros per share, which the Belgian company had said was its
third and final bid.
Much of the Dutch opposition to the deal has centred on the
Belgian government's influence over Bpost. At the moment, it has
a 51 percent stake but that would fall to 40 percent under its
PostNL said it was concerned the Belgian stake would add
layers of bureaucracy and render the Dutch business less
competitive. It said one reason it had not entered formal merger
talks with Bpost was because of opposition from Dutch Economic
Affairs Minister Henk Kamp.
"One of the main concerns expressed by several Dutch
politicians relates to the 40 percent share and the influence
the Belgian government would retain in the combination," PostNL
said in a statement.
Bpost had argued that a combined company would be a major
European player with cost efficiencies but PostNL's management
said it made no sense to have Bpost acquire a privately owned
and more agile business.
"It goes beyond just politics, it goes more broadly to all
our stakeholders. We are very concerned about a lack of critical
support from our stakeholders, including staff, clients and the
government," PostNL Chief Executive Officer Herna Verhagen said.
"If you look at the underlying reasons why, you see we were
looking out for the interests of our shareholders," she told
Several major shareholders and smaller investors had asked
that PostNL at least sit down and discuss the offer with Bpost's
management but the Dutch company's board unanimously rejected
($1 = 0.9322 euros)
(Reporting by Toby Sterling and Anthony Deutsch; editing by