Mergers and More ... Some On, Some Off

Even within a volatile and diminishing economy, activity continues with mergers, acquisitions and alliances.

A Celadon Group wholly-owned subsidiary has acquired Continental Express Inc.’s truckload, intermodal and brokerage business for $24 million. Along with the business units, some 400 Continental tractors and 1,100 trailers are part of the deal. Continental is reported to have had $92 million in gross revenues in 2007. "Based on our evaluation of the business, we believe Continental has quality customers and drivers, but suffered from a cost structure that plagues many mid-sized carriers,” says Steve Russell, Celadon chairman and CEO. “We expect to integrate the acquired operations promptly. As part of the integration process, we expect to optimize the combined customer, driver, and equipment base to improve asset productivity.”

Bangalore, India-based Infosys Technologies and Columbus, OH-headquartered Sterling Commerce are expanding their global alliance to enable them to grow their combined service offerings into the financial services and retail markets. The two companies have had a partnership for more than 10 years with clients in manufacturing, banking, telecommunications and life sciences. “This extension of our successful relationship comes at a time when clients are looking for companies to work together to deliver the value they need out of their existing systems,” claims C. Kakal, senior vice president of enterprise solutions at Infosys. “With the largest number of consultants trained on Sterling Commerce technology in the field, Infosys is already providing deep domain and industry expertise to Sterling Commerce customers.”

i2 Technologies has called off its move to merge with JDA Software Group, Inc. Previously JDA had gained strength in process manufacturing and transportation through its acquisition in July 2006 of Manugistics. Adding i2 would have given JDA entry into electronics, automotive, high technology and transportation discrete manufacturing. In discussing the end of merger plans, i2’s executive chairman of the board of directors, says the company has, “excellent customers, employees and a strong financial position with significant cash balances. While it is unfortunate that we could not consummate the merger agreement with JDA, we look forward to fully focusing on making our customers successful.”

A new intermodal service offering combining neutral ocean services with a neutral drayage product through a technology platform has been created through the collaboration of Vanguard Logistics Services and RoadLink. The service, DrayMate, will be used by domestic and international agents to provide the US domestic customs broker and freight forwarding community with drayage that can be offered to customers along with quotes for core ocean services.

Currently in a buying mood, pending governmental approvals, Lufthansa will purchase a 41.6% stake in Austrian Airlines at a cost of €366.6 million. It will also make a public offering to remaining shareholders. Lufthansa has been approved by its supervisory board to spend enough to reach 100% control of Austrian.

Waiting in the wings is a possible merger between British Airways and Qantas, though nothing has been publicly announced about talks between the two airlines other than to acknowledge that they are underway. British Airways is also looking at purchasing Spain’s Iberia Airlines. Both the KLM-Air France group and Lufthansa are looking at the purchase of assets that will remain after the best of them are retained by a newly formed Italian airline created from the ashes of Alitalia.

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