Kuehne+Nagel acquires China’s Apex International from MBK Partners

Korean private equity firm MBK Partners has agreed to sell all its shares in Shanghai-headquartered air freight forwarder Apex International Corporation to global logistics company Kuehne+Nagel Group, according to a company statement.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed but Kuehne+Nagel claims that the acquisition is the largest in its history. The transaction will be funded by Kuehne+Nagel’s liquid sources and available credit lines. 

According to a Bloomberg report in October 2020, MBK Partners had plans to divest its entire equity interest in Apex for more than $1 billion. 

The Korean PE firm acquired a majority stake in Apex in 2015 for 92 billion won ($78 million). The nearly six years partnership has helped Apex achieved significant growth. As of 2020, Apex registered annual turnover surpassing $2.3 billion. 

After the acquisition, the Seoul-headquartered MBK Partners will no longer have an equity interest in Apex, while Apex’s management will remain a minority stake.  

Additionally, Apex will operate independently within the Kuehne+Nagel Group. Founded in 1890 in Germany, Kuehne+Nagel specialises in integrated logistics solutions covering sea, air, road, and contract. 

“The combination of Apex and Kuehne+Nagel provides us with an opportunity to offer our customers a compelling proposition in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfillment, hi-tech and e-mobility,” said Kuehne + Nagel International AG CEO Dr Detlef Trefzger. 

Apex, one of China’s largest air freight carriers, operates logistics services with strong presence in the transpacific and intra-Asia regions. With 41 global offices, it provides offerings such as transportation, supply chain solutions, warehousing, and distribution to its over 10,000 clients.

“We are sure that with this transaction, we will be able to add value for our customers’ supply chains and expand our global logistics network,” said Apex Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO Tony Song. 

Founded in 2005, MBK Partners manages $23.4 billion in assets that invest in the fields across consumer and retail, telecommunications, and media, among others. With branch offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo, it has so far had 44 portfolio companies.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.