The major shipping company MSC and the city of Hamburg are entering the home stretch with their plans for the Hamburg port logistics company HHLA. After the regular acceptance period for an MSC purchase offer to the HHLA shareholders has expired, both partners can have a whopping HHLA majority of well over 80 percent. In return, this means that the remaining HHLA shareholders have less than the so-called blocking minority, which could be used to block important decisions.

The city of Hamburg and the world’s largest liner shipping company want to run HHLA as a joint venture in which MSC will hold a maximum of 49.9 percent and the city 50.1 percent. Hamburg currently holds around 69 percent of HHLA. In order for the plan to be realized, MSC had to convince HHLA shareholders to sell their shares to the shipping company. During the deadline that expired on Tuesday night, at least 3.9 percent of HHLA shares were tendered to MSC (as of Monday afternoon).

No newer information is available yet. As an MSC spokesman said upon request, “it usually takes two to three trading days until the central settlement office has determined the exact number of shares tendered as part of the offer and the result is published.” Only then does the legally stipulated “further acceptance period” of two weeks begin, within which HHLA shareholders can make a sales decision. MSC’s October 23 offer stated that this period was expected to begin on November 24 and end at midnight on December 7.

According to its own information, the world’s largest liner shipping company already has an HHLA share of almost ten percent. According to this information, the city of Hamburg and MSC have a total of around 63.3 million HHLA shares. “This corresponds to a total share of approximately 84.21 percent of the company’s share capital and voting rights existing as of the reporting date,” it said in the most recent announcement on Monday. In the first half of November, MSC Germany boss Nils Kahn spoke of 75 percent being held jointly by the city and his company.

An important mark for takeover offers is 90 percent. This threshold is crucial so that the remaining shareholders can be forced to transfer their shares even against their will – the technical term for this is squeeze-out.