The battle to buy Wincanton has taken a turn after the company’s directors withdrew their support for Ceva Logistics’ improved £802.7m bid and announced their intention to “unanimously” recommend GXO’s £960m offer to the company’s shareholders.

Under the terms of its improved bid, Ceva Logistics, which is a subsidiary of French shipping company CMA CGM, retains the right to make a counter offer, but this needs to meet a deadline of close of business on Wednesday, 6 March.

The offer from US supply chain management giant GXO gives Wincanton an enterprise value of approximately £960m, compared to Ceva’s bid, which gives Wincanton an enterprise value of £802.7m

Wincanton chairman Sir Martin Read, said: “We have long been clear that Wincanton is a great business with a compelling strategy, strong customer relationships and excellent people.

”Under the current management team, we have made positive progress and ensured that Wincanton is at the forefront of logistics innovation.

”The board of Wincanton is pleased that GXO recognises the very significant value inherent in this business and intends to recommend the offer to shareholders.”

GXO said the acquisition will help it ”capitalise on exciting, structural growth opportunities within the UK and Ireland”.

It hopes the deal will expand GXO’s offering and customer base in  the aerospace, utilities, industrial, and healthcare sectors in the UK and Ireland ”provide GXO with a springboard to offer industrial services across Europe”.

It added: ”The acquisition is highly synergistic. The GXO board’s expectation is that the combination will lead to full annual net run-rate synergies of £45m (pre-tax), based on procurement, and other operational overlap that can be realised by the third year of integration.”

It pointed to acquisition and integration of Clipper Logistics in 2022, which it said proves that GXO ”has a proven track record of successfully and smoothly acquiring, integrating, and operating UK businesses whilst continuing to deliver sustainable value creation”.