Royal Mail owner agrees to £3.6bn takeover by ‘Czech Sphinx’ Daniel Kretinsky

Royal Mail owner agrees to £3.6bn takeover by 'Czech Sphinx' Daniel Kretinsky

The owners of Royal Mail have agreed to a £3.6bn takeover bid by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

The company’s parent firm International Distribution Services (IDS) said its board of directors had approved the deal after a formal offer was made earlier this month.

Mr Kretinsky’s EP Group already owns 27.6% of the business.

The offer would see EP Group buy IDS for 370p per share, and also includes a series of “contractual commitments and intentions” to protect public service aspects of the Royal Mail.

The billionaire, who has been nicknamed the “Czech Sphinx”, reportedly due to his enigmatic nature and reluctance to speak in public, also owns parts of West Ham Football Club and Sainsbury’s.

IDS said Royal Mail would continue its universal service obligation to “one-price-goes-anywhere” first class post six days a week under the terms of the deal, and would also keep the company’s branding and UK headquarters.

The company also insisted that it would protect the employment rights of all IDS staff and that there was “no intention to make any material changes to overall headcount or reductions in the number of front-line workers” as a result of the deal.

Read more: Many are mystified why a Czech billionaire wants to buy Royal Mail’s owner

The board said the offer reflected “the progress being made on change at Royal Mail, as well as the execution risks associated with delivering longer term value for shareholders in light of uncertainty over the nature and timing of universal service reform and the need for swift and significant strategic investments”.

Shareholders will vote on the deal at IDS’s next annual general meeting in September.

However, it is expected that the deal will come under scrutiny from regulators.

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