a spokesperson for the giant Danish line calling the reports “rumours and speculation” and the HMM side in Seoul also rubbishing them.
When it was announced last month that financially struggling HMM was seeking to join 2M, the alliance between Maersk and MSC, it sparked a wave of conspiracy theories as to the real motive behind the move.
Chief among those was analysts Drewry who posited in a monthly newsletter: “Maersk’s aim is not actually having HMM as a junior alliance partner, but rather to prepare to acquire it or joint venture with it (the same way Maersk courted Sea-Land and then P&O Nedlloyd before buying them).”
The theory was denied at the time by both Maersk and HMM. Since then however a Reuters interview with Maersk boardmember Jakob Stausholm only served to add fuel to the fire.
“If you look at the history of Maersk Line, we have achieved our leadership position by the combination of organic growth and acquisitions. If the right opportunity is there we will look into it,” Stausholm told Reuters.
“As per our policy we do not comment on rumours and speculation,” a spokesperson for Maersk Line told Splash, adding: “What we can confirm is, as you know, that 2M is in discussions with HMM on the possibility of HMM joining the 2M vessel sharing agreement when their membership of the G6 alliance expires in 2017.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for HMM in Seoul told Splash today: “The alleged M&A rumour that you referred to is groundless.”
Lars Jensen from Copenhagen-based SeaIntel Consulting told Splash he had nothing to back up the acquisition rumours. He did, however, suggest it was conceivable.