US-based third party logistics provider, XPO Logistics, has entered into an agreement to buy Norbert Dentressangle, one of Europe’s main transport, forwarding and contract logistics providers, for $3.53 billion. The deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, is estimated to increase XPO’s revenue to approximately $8.5 billion. Norbert Dentressangle will be rebranded as XPO Logistics and the US company said it would gain global scale in freight brokerage and managed transport services through the acquisition.

Norbert Dentressangle has a strong business in contract logistics, particularly in e-commerce. It also has a significant presence in the automotive industry, particularly for spare parts distribution.

The purchase of Norbert Dentressangle will give XPO access to a European fleet mix of 7,700 owned trucks, 3,200 trucks contracted through owner-operators and access to an additional 12,000 independent carriers. Norbert Dentressangle’s business includes €250m of revenue from dedicated carriage, and around €1 billion in road freight.

"This is a defining moment in the growth of XPO,” said Bradley Jacobs, chairman and CEO of XPO Logistics. “Our planned acquisition of Norbert Dentressangle will catapult XPO to a top ten global logistics company. It will more than triple our EBITDA to $545m and increase our revenue to about $8.5 billion upon completion of the tender offer, nearly achieving our 2017 financial targets two years ahead of plan. The acquisition of Norbert Dentressangle is a major leap forward, but we're still in the early innings of our long-term growth plan."

XPO said it intends to maintain Norbert Dentressangle’s European headquarters in Lyon. Hervé Montjotin, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Norbert Dentressangle, will serve as CEO of XPO's European business and president of the parent company.

Montjotin said of the buyout: "By joining XPO, we will become part of an organisation that shares the ambition that has guided us since the creation of Norbert Dentressangle 36 years ago: to become a global partner able to effectively support our customers in the management of their supply chains. As XPO's platform for growth in Europe, we can continue to pursue this goal on an even larger scale, to the benefit of our customers and employees. I am proud to lead this growth for XPO, together with the current management board."

The two companies have relatively complimentary geographies and business areas, with XPO up until now primarily a North American player. In a statement, XPO said that it “intends not to reduce the total number of full-time employees in France for a period of at least 18 months from closing” – although redundancy could be on the cards further down the road. It also said that “[s]ubstantially all of the management team” of the European business is expected to join XPO upon completion of the deal.

This latest acquisition by XPO is part of a mid-term growth plan that has already seen some major acquisitions. Last year the company bought Pacer International, a strong player in intermodal logistics including cross-border flows between the US and Mexico, and New Breed Holdings.

That followed its buyout of National Logistics Management (NLM) from Landstar System in December 2013.

So far there has been no comment on the implications of the purchase for customers in the automotive sector, which are served by both companies.

Most recently Norbert Dentressangle extended its contract with JCB for aftermarket services. Last year it bought Jacobson, a leading contract logistics and transport provider in the US market, for $750m.