Attorneys from the United Parcel Service Incorporated headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, have just announced they have filed suit against the Anti-Trust Unit of the European Union for 1.74 billion euros (2.15 billion dollars), along with interest and court costs, for a decision in Brussels five years ago that put the kibosh on UPS’ plans to merge with the Dutch parcel delivery giant TNT Express. The court documents were officially filed this morning, February 26, in Brussels.
The European Commission, which oversees all antitrust activity for the European Union, had expressed deep concern that the overnight package delivery system would become prey to price fixing by UPS and TNT Express, since they would hold a virtual duopoly throughout Western Europe. The only other overnight delivery service available for most European shippers would have been Deutsche Post, which is not equipped to handle more than a fraction of the overnight delivery business in Western Europe, and is not equipped to make quick deliveries overseas.
But this decision to ban the merger was overturned by the European Union’s appeals court late in 2017, citing procedural missteps by the European Commission in its handling of the initial ruling. The European Commission is appealing the lower court’s’ ruling, but experts on European antitrust laws say there is little hope the ruling will ever be reinstated.
UPS lawyers are claiming the Commission’s initial decision had a negative effect on the company’s stock and materially lessened their profit margins for the last three years.