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London - United Parcel Service announced Monday that it would withdraw its $6.9 billion takeover offer for TNT Express, a Dutch shipping company, after European antitrust authorities told UPS that they would block the deal.
The announcement is a blow to UPS' expansion outside of the United States, as the deal for TNT Express would have given the U.S. company a larger presence in European and emerging markets.
Since first announcing the deal last March, UPS had faced difficulties with European regulators, who feared that the takeover would hamper competition.
To appease antitrust concerns, UPS had agreed to sell a number of business units and to grant access to some of its airline network to rivals. TNT Express also said it would sell its own airline operations as part of the antitrust concessions.
The company had been locked in negotiations with European regulators since November, but was told late last week that its proposed concessions did not meet authorities' demands. UPS had tried to convince regulators that selling assets to the French shipping company DPD would create enough competition to satisfy regulatory concerns.
Competition authorities at the European Commission informed both companies that they would not approve the multibillion-dollar takeover, according to separate statements from UPS and TNT Express on Monday. European officials have until early February to rule officially on the proposed takeover.
"We are extremely disappointed with the European Commission's position," UPS' chief executive, D. Scott Davis, said in a statement. "We proposed significant and tangible remedies designed to address the European Commission's concerns with the transaction."