The Czech is in the Post: Royal Mail accepts £3.5billion takeover bid from Czech billionaire

29 May 2024, 07:37 | Updated: 29 May 2024, 09:30

Royal Mail owners have agreed to £3.57bn takeover offer from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.
Royal Mail owners have agreed to £3.57bn takeover offer from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The owners of Royal Mail have agreed to a £3.57 billion takeover offer from Czech billionaire and shareholder Daniel Kretinsky.

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Mr Kretinsky's EP Group vehicle, which already owns 27.6% of the business, made a formal offer for the business after initial proposals earlier this month.

The acceptance of the offer could mean the UK’s postal service is taken into total foreign ownership for the first time.

The offer would see EP Group buy IDS for 370p per share, while offering a series of "contractual commitments and intentions" to protect public service aspects of the Royal Mail.

IDS said the offer would see Royal Mail continue its universal service obligation to one-price-goes-anywhere first class post six days a week, and keep the company's branding and UK headquarters.

IDS controls Royal Mail, Parcelforce and international mailing service GLS.

The firm said it would protect existing employment rights of all IDS staff, and that there is "no intention to make any material changes to overall headcount or reductions in the number of front-line workers" beyond existing plans.

The board said the offer reflects "the progress being made on change at Royal Mail, as well as the execution risks associated with delivering longer term value for shareholders in light of uncertainty over the nature and timing of universal service reform and the need for swift and significant strategic investments".

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Royal Mail have agreed to an offer from billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, known as the 'Czech Sphinx'.
Royal Mail have agreed to an offer from billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, known as the 'Czech Sphinx'. Picture: Alamy

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has yet to meet with Mr Kretinsky on the deal.

Ms Badenoch, who has the power under the National Security and Investment Act to potentially block the deal, met with IDS bosses earlier this month to discuss the offer.

Mr Kretinsky is said to be known as the "Czech Sphinx" and has a raft of other investments, including stakes in London football club West Ham United and supermarket giant Sainsbury's.

Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward said on Wednesday: "We do welcome some of the commitments that have been made but the reality is postal workers across the UK have lost all faith in the senior management of Royal Mail and the service has been deliberately run down.

Shareholders will vote on the deal in September.
Shareholders will vote on the deal in September. Picture: Alamy

"We will meet with EP Group next week and call for a complete reset in employee and industrial relations, the restoration of postal services and further commitments on the future of the company.

"We will also be directly engaging with the Labour Party and other stakeholders to call for a new model of ownership for Royal Mail where our members and customers have a direct say in key decisions and the creation of a golden share which will protect a key part of the UK's communications infrastructure."

Shareholders will vote in September.

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