Ashurst advises J.P. Morgan Cazenove on takeover of Royal Mail owner

Global law firm Ashurst is advising J.P. Morgan Cazenove on the takeover of International Distributions Services plc (IDS) by EP UK Bidco Limited (Bidco). Bidco is a newly formed company owned indirectly by EP Corporate Group, a.s. (EP) and J&T Capital Partners, a.s. (J&T). J.P. Morgan Cazenove is acting as financial adviser to EP, J&T and Bidco.

IDS is a leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK, operating in the UK under Royal Mail, and in continental Europe under GLS.

Royal Mail’s origins date back nearly 500 years to the time of King Henry VIII. Royal Mail is the UK’s designated Universal Service Provider with a strong brand and unparalleled scale and reach to 32 million UK addresses. GLS is a leading international carrier operating one of the largest ground-based parcel delivery networks in Europe.

EP has an extensive portfolio of significant industrial assets across Europe and is a long-term investor in the UK, founded on energy and infrastructure and later diversified into other sectors including food wholesale, food and other consumer retail, logistics, media and e-commerce. Companies in which EP is the controlling shareholder or exercises the majority of voting rights have revenues of around €100 billion and annual EBITDA of around €8 billion. Across the UK and Europe, EP operates vital energy and infrastructure assets with unionised workforces including gas pipelines and gas storage facilities, power plants and electricity networks. The EP group views the UK as an attractive and dynamic market for investment.

VESA, the private investment arm of the shareholders of EP, has been a substantial shareholder in IDS since 2020.

Bidco will also be owned indirectly by J&T, a Czech-based private investment company. J&T has been a long-term business partner of EP and its founder and controlling shareholder, Daniel Křetínský.

The Ashurst team is being led by partners Tom Mercer, Tim Rennie and counsel Darren Phelan. They are being supported by senior associate Colin Bugler and associates Ronak Thakkar and Patrick Chambers.

/Public Release.