French state-owned railways company SNCF has launched a US$211.57 a share cash bid for 58 percent of the stock it does not already own of Geodis SA, the French logistics and transport giant.
The price offered by SNCF's unit, SNCF Participations, represents a 79 premium over Geodis' average share price in March and values the company at $1.73 billion.
Geodis has mandated an independent expert to review the financial conditions of the offer. It has also created a committee with two independent directors who have no conflict of interest with the potential transaction, to also evaluate the terms of SNCF's offer.
SNFC wants to bring Geodis under state control in an effort to create a major European transport and logistics company.
SNCF chairman said last month he wanted his company to become one of the world's top five freight operators by 2012. Geodis is the biggest French freight company.
Geodis and SNCF's freight division had a combined turnover in 2007 of $12 billion, making it effectively the fourth largest European firm in the sector behind DHL, which is part of Deutsche Post, Germany's Deutsche Bahn and the Swiss firm Kuehne & Nagel.