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Belgian postal service buys PE-backed Amazon rival for $820M

The $820 million takeover of private equity-backed ecommerce logistics company Radial puts bpost squarely in the path of ecommerce giant Amazon. Is this wise?


Belgian Post Group (aka bpost) has agreed to acquire Radial, a private equity-backed ecommerce logistics company, at an enterprise value of $820 million.

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The deal would secure bpost a US-based business which anticipates around $1 billion in revenue in 2017 and EBITDA of up to $70 million. Radial provides omnichannel ecommerce technology for SMEs and has, in recent times, been seen as Amazon’s chief rival in the space.

Radial released a paper in November critiquing Amazon’s purported shift from customer service to pushing profits. And in January, Radial announced a whole raft of services for partnering with mid-market retailers.

Sellers in Monday’s deal, which is expected to close in 4Q, include Sterling Partners and Longview Asset Management. Radial was formed through the April 2016 merger of eBay Enterprise and Innotrac, businesses that Sterling backed in November 2015 and January 2014, respectively.

Taking on Amazon

Whether inviting the wrath of Jeff Bezos is a wise thing remains to be seen, given the ecommerce giant’s might. Retail stocks plummeted on the announcement of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, for example, with companies as large as Walmart feeling the heat. On top of this, the deal’s aftershocks also took a chunk out of Blue Apron’s IPO price expectations.

Radial may believe that Amazon’s size is making it miss out on market opportunity in its original logistics business, given the behemoth’s recent moves into industries like groceries and video streaming. For bpost, the deal is a logical step in boosting its own ecommerce offering and building value between Europe and North America. However, as many can attest, betting against Bezos often doesn’t fare well.


Just how far do Amazon’s tentacles reach?

Check out our map showcasing the many industries that the company has entered.

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    Written by Sean Lightbown
    Sean was a financial writer in PitchBook’s London office, working on the daily European newsletter. Previously, he worked in both London and New York for Mergermarket, writing and editing white-label reports for accounting firms, law firms and other service providers, covering topics including M&A, private equity and high-yield debt.

    Sean holds a BSc in Politics with Economics from the University of Bath, and is a long-suffering Bolton Wanderers supporter.
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