GXO’s £960m bid for Wincanton has been given a clear run after Ceva Logistics confirmed today (5 March) it is pulling out of the bidding race.

Ceva Logistics had until close of business tomorrow (6 March) to raise its £802.7m bid for Wincanton, after GXO’s rival offer of £960m was unanimously recommended to shareholders by Wincanton’s board earlier this week.

However, this morning Ceva Logistics, which is a subsidiary of French shipping giant CMA CGM, announced it would not be making an improved offer for Wincanton.

Ceva Logistics’ withdrawal from the bidding war for Wincanton clears the way for GXO to secure its purchase of the UK haulier.

In a statement, Ceva Logistics said that the group ”felt that the increased and final offer represented a very attractive opportunity for all Wincanton stakeholders, notably its employees, clients and the Wincanton shareholders.

”As a global leader, CMA CGM will continue deploying its growth roadmap, leveraging its clear business strategy and very robust balance sheet, while always maintaining a clear focus on value creation with financial discipline in any acquisition.”

However the French group signalled its continued interest in expanding into the UK logistics sector. It added: ”Ceva Logistics and CMA CGM are committed to serving their clients and growing their presence in the United Kingdom which remains a core market for the CMA CGM group.”

Ceva Logistics’ bid was part of CMA CGM’s wider expansion strategy which has seen the company make some major acquisitions in the logistics world over the past few years, including last week’s completion of its acquisition of major French logistics group Bolloré, which the company said ”constitutes a major step in the CMA CGM Group’s logistics development strategy”.

Ceva Logistics put in an original bid which valued Wincanton at around £764.9m on an enterprise value basis. Its latest increased and final offer price values Wincanton at approximately £802.7m on an enterprise value basis. However GXO’s rival offer puts Wincanton’s enterprise value at approximately £960m - an offer which prompted Wincanton’s board to switch its support from Ceva’s bid to GXO’s, which it has recommended “unanimously” to its shareholders.