July 24, 2008 / 3:37 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-TNT plummets on report FedEx talks called off

(Adds detail, background)

AMSTERDAM, July 24 (Reuters) - Shares in Dutch mail company TNT NV TNT.AS fell as much as 18 percent in late afternoon trade on Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that takeover talks with FedEx (FDX.N) had ended.

Traders cited the article, which appeared on the Journal's Web site, which said that low-level talks between the two companies had not led anywhere, referring to unnamed sources.

"The Journal reported the FedEx-TNT talks have broken down, and the shares were up last week because of the talks," an Amsterdam-based trader said.

TNT declined to comment.

The Financial Times reported on July 12 that FedEx was in preliminary talks to buy TNT, sending its shares up as much as 47 percent since then.

TNT shares closed down 16 percent at 22 euros, after hitting 21.45 euros in late trade.

The smallest of the world's top four express delivery companies has often been seen as a target for its peers, which also include United Parcel Service (UPS.N) and Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE).

Analysts had seen this as a good time to pounce as TNT shares had suffered since the start of the year from uncertainty over its German business, slowing economic growth and rising oil prices.

Europe's second-biggest mail and logistics company by market value is not active in the domestic U.S. market. It has a strong presence in Europe and is expanding in Asia and South America. (Reporting by Catherine Hornby, Reed Stevenson, Sitaraman Shankar and Atul Prakash)

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