Advertisement

Britain's Royal Mail accepts takeover bid from Czech billionaire

The owner of Britain's Royal Mail on Wednesday agreed to accept a takeover bid by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE
The owner of Britain's Royal Mail on Wednesday agreed to accept a takeover bid by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

May 29 (UPI) -- Britain's Royal Mail on Wednesday agreed to an offer by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky's nearly $5 billion bid to purchase the 500-year-old mail service.

The proposal by Kretinsky's EP Group was approved by the postal service's board on Wednesday which included a promise to protect its more than 150,000 workers and maintain the historical relevancy of the institution by assuming the company's debt, retaining the name, brand and its British headquarters along with employee benefits and pensions.

Advertisement

Britain's Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch could still block the deal or call for an investigation under the National Securities and Investment Act. Shareholders of the postal service's parent company International Distribution Services must also approve the deal.

"I know that owning this business will come with enormous responsibility, not just to the employees but to the citizens who rely on its services every day," Kretinsky said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

"This scale of the commitment we are offering to the company and the U.K. government reflects how seriously we take this responsibility to the benefit of IDS's employees, union representatives and all other stakeholders."

Advertisement

The proposed deal also commits the EP Group to hold on to the Royal Mail for at least three years.

Dave Ward, the general secretary of the Royal Mail's union, said he was not satisfied with what he had heard from Kretinsky and his proposal.

"We want more extensive assurances about UK postal services," Ward told BBC Radio. "We're looking for pension guarantees. We'll be looking for a stake for the employees in the future ownership model of the business.

"I think it's about testing Mr. Kretensky as to whether he's got any plans for investing in the workforce, for investing in growth strategies for the company, or whether his intentions are to purely to asset strip the company."

Latest Headlines