UPS lines up third major corporate acquisition this year

): UPS, the USA-based global integrator, is continuing its recent burst of corporate activity with the planned acquisition of Mail Boxes Etc (MBE).

The latter, a subsidiary of US Office Products, claims to be the largest franchiser of independently-owned business, communication and shipping centres worldwide. Headquartered in San Diego, California, USA, it comprises more than 4,300 retail locations, including nearly 900 centres in 29 countries.

UPS and MBE say their intended cash transaction, which they expect to close “as soon as practicable”, will enable them to develop new opportunities in areas such as small business services, e-commerce and financial services. “It also strengthens the important physical link UPS has to a growing segment of retail customers, such as internet consumers, SOHO (small office/home office) owners and an increasingly mobile, technology-connected society,” adds a spokesperson.

Once the planned acquisition is completed, explain the two companies, MBE business will be conducted through a subsidiary of UPS under the guidance of Jim Amos, the franchiser’s president and chief executive officer. MBE franchisees, they add, will continue to offer a “broad array of business services, products and shipping alternatives”.

UPS and MBE say they have had a strong relationship for more than two decades. In recent years, they claim, both companies have unveiled “industry-leading solutions” for small businesses and for shipping/returning goods sold and purchased over the internet by businesses and consumers. They also claim to have complementary portfolios of business-focused financial services. For more details of the UPS/MBE transaction, see Corporate Announcements (March 2).

The intended acquisition of MBE is the third major corporate deal announced by UPS since the start of this year. In January, the integrator announced plans to acquire global forwarder and logistics service provider Fritz Companies (the-chain, January 11) and US financial services organisation First International Bancorp (the-chain, January 17).

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