United Parcel boxes up deal to buy out Mail Boxes | TahoeDailyTribune.com

United Parcel boxes up deal to buy out Mail Boxes

Susan Wood

The world of shipping just got smaller.

With the agreed United Parcel Service buyout of Mail Boxes Etc., consumers may see reduced prices at the counter to ship packages, MBE franchisee Jim Cotcher said Monday.

Cotcher returned to his two Mail Boxes, Etc. franchises at the “Y” and Stateline with optimism the merger would be positive for customers and the two companies. He was one of about 300 MBE franchise owners who attended the open forum in Sacramento because he was curious what the buyout announced last week would mean to his two South Lake Tahoe locations.

“I came out of the meeting excited,” he said. “It looks like overall it’s a tremendous mix.”

Cotcher didn’t know what to expect before going into the meeting facilitated by corporate representatives from UPS and MBE.

The parent company of Mail Boxes Etc., U.S. Office Products, declared bankruptcy and placed MBE up for sale a few months ago.

“It’s no secret they were in trouble for some time,” Cotcher said, referring to USOP’s financial difficulties.

Stocks have been plummeting, and creditors have been calling.

UPS was one of 12 different suitors, excluding Federal Express. The competitor passed up the option.

The largest shipping company in the world was looking to benefit by MBE franchises’ “brick and mortar presence,” Cotcher said. Mail Boxes Etc. has franchised 4,300 stores nationwide – 900 outside the United States.

Terms of the all-cash deal for San Diego-based Mail Boxes Etc. were undisclosed.

“This is another way to broaden our presence on the retail side,” UPS spokesman Norman Black said Friday. “The growth of e-commerce has made it very clear to us that the residential and small-office, home-office part of the market is going to continue to expand.”

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