Britain’s Royal Mail is being sold to a Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský for $4.6 billion | CNN Business

Britain’s Royal Mail is being sold to a Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský for .6 billion | CNN Business

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A vehicle outside a Royal Mail collection office in London on May 16, 2024.


The owner of Royal Mail has accepted a £3.57 billion ($4.6 billion) takeover bid from Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský, paving the way for the sale of one of Britain’s oldest and most iconic institutions to a foreign owner for the first time.

International Distribution Services, which owns the loss-making postal service, said Wednesday that it had accepted a £3.70-per-share ($4.69) takeover offer from Křetínský’s EP Group.

The deal follows a torrid few years for Royal Mail, which was privatized in 2013. It has suffered a sharp drop in demand for its services and recorded a loss of £348 million ($445 million) for the year that ended on March 31 — a slightly better result than the previous year when it lost £419 million ($536 million).

Křetínský’s move comes at a sensitive moment politically as the United Kingdom gears up for a general election on July 4. The proposed takeover will be subject to a national security review, possibly by a new government. Opinion polls suggest the Labour Party will win its first election since 2005 and replace the incumbent Conservative administration.

Labour has already taken a keen interest in the deal, which will have consequences for thousands of workers and the provision of a vital public service.

In a letter earlier to Křetínský earlier this month, Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s business spokesperson, urged the EP Group to provide “cast-iron guarantees” that it would keep Royal Mail’s headquarters in the UK and would work closely with its workers’ union.

“Royal Mail is as British as it gets, and Labour will take the necessary steps to safeguard its undeniable identity and place in public life,” he wrote in the letter, which he posted on X.

A low-profile Czech national, Křetínský made his fortune through a sprawling empire of European energy companies, retailers and football clubs. He is worth an estimated $7.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and owns a 27% stake in West Ham United Football Club.

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