Royal Mail steps up defence in bid battle with ‘Czech Sphinx’ billionaire

Takeover battle: Royal mail wants permission to cut second class deliveries

Royal Mail has urged regulators to allow it to cut second class deliveries as it tries to fight off a takeover by a billionaire dubbed the ‘Czech Sphinx’.

Parent company International Distributions Services (IDS) yesterday begged Ofcom to ‘accelerate’ a review that would let it slash services and save cash.

The plea came after the board rejected a £3.2bn bid from Daniel Kretinsky, saying the offer was ‘opportunistic’ and undervalued the 508-year-old postal service.

IDS top brass will meet with institutional investors this week to get them on side following the Czech billionaire’s approach.

Kretinsky, 48, who co-owns West Ham United and holds a stake in Sainsbury’s, is said to be working on another bid.

Royal Mail wants to reform the Universal Service Obligation (USO), which means it must deliver letters nationwide for the same price every day except Sunday.

Shareholders said delays to revising the rules had left IDS ‘vulnerable to corporate predators’.

IDS chairman Keith Williams said: ‘The lack of Universal Service reform by government and Ofcom over the past four years has held back Royal Mail’s transformation and urgent action is needed.

‘Reform is in the regulator’s hands and we urge Ofcom to accelerate their review.’

Royal Mail wants to cut second class deliveries to every other weekday – or as little as two a week, and never on Saturdays.