Last Word

Deutsche Post, the German postal service, has been the subject of recent speculation about a potential private equity takeover. However, a source close to Deutsche Post (DP) said a bid was unlikely to materialise.

The source said the German government held 25% stake in DP and was unlikely to relinquish its holding. Moreover, it was unlikely that the German government would allow DP to be taken over and jeopardise the strategic direction of a national champion.

Speculation regarding a takeover has been generated by the possibility of German federal banking group KfW selling a large portion or its 26% stake in DP.

KfW has permission to sell its stake in DP from early 2007 onwards. Recent press speculation has linked Blackstone and CVC as potential private equity buyers of the stake.

DP has a current market capitalisation of €23.3bn

DP does not see itself as a takeover target, Die Welt reported. Chief executive officer Klaus Zumwinkel has said he is not afraid of a takeover by private equity firms despite KfW planning to sell a considerable number of shares.

Elsewhere according to informed speculation private equity firm CVC Capital may submit a takeover bid for Halfords, the UK-listed vehicle accessories retailer. CVC has an existing 7.4% stake in Halfords. Autobacs Seven, Halfords’ Japanese rival, was mentioned as a potential bidder in a market report in The Times. Autobacs has a 4.99% shareholding in Halfords.

There was talk of a potential take-out bid level of 410p per share.

While other reports suggest the private equity consortium which recently failed to get Spanish Univision Communications might enter the fray again with a €10bn offer.