Wincanton lorry

Source: Wincanton

US firm GXO Logistics and French multinational Ceva are locked in a bidding war for British logistics giant Wincanton

The heat has turned up in the bidding war for British logistics giant Wincanton after US business GXO outbid French multinational Ceva with an offer of £764m – £159m higher than its rival’s revised offer earlier in the week.

The US company gatecrashed Ceva’s proposed deal to buy Wincanton, which counts a number of major UK supermarkets as its customers, on Thursday with an offer that would see investors receive 605p a share.

This far surpassed Ceva Logistics’ latest bid of 480p a share. The French business had already upped its previous offer for London-listed Wincanton of 450p a share – or by £38m to £605m – earlier in the week in response to reports of a possible rival bidder.

The second bidder was eventually revealed to be Clipper Logistics owner GXO, the supply chain behemoth that employs over 130,000 people around the world and works with brands from Waitrose and Wickes to Ikea and Primark.

Read more: Wincanton shares soar as GXO sparks potential bidding war for logistics group

GXO Logistics CEO Malcolm Wilson said in response to Thursday’s announcement: “Wincanton is a world-class business, and we have long been impressed by their high-quality people and diverse customer relationships across key industries.

“The combination of GXO’s technological capabilities and global reach with Wincanton’s proven expertise in the UK and Ireland markets will enhance our offering for the benefit of both companies’ current and future customers.

“Our superior offer reflects our conviction in the value of this business and the opportunities the combined company will realise.”

Ceva had previously secured the support of Wincanton’s directors and some shareholders as a sole bidder. However, the board is unlikely to recommend its offer to shareholders given GXO’s significantly higher bid.

The counter offer sent Wiltshire-headquartered Wincanton shares soaring by nearly a fifth to 610p on Thursday morning.