UPS In Cash Deal To Buy Mail Boxes Etc.

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New York-Shipping giant United Parcel Service Inc. has agreed to acquire business and shipping center franchisor Mail Boxes Etc., a unit of U.S. Office Products, in order to increase its accessibility to residential, home office and small-business customers.

The transaction will be conducted in cash and is expected to close within the next few months, UPS spokesman Norman Black said. Other terms were not released.

San Diego-based Mail Boxes Etc. is comprised of more than 4,300 retail location in 29 countries. The Mail Boxes Etc. business will be conducted through a unit of Atlanta-based UPS, the companies said in a release.

Households and small businesses "tend to rely on authorized shipping outlets like MBE," Black said. "Their volume is not big enough to schedule a UPS driver to come by their house."

Black said Mail Boxes Etc. stores will continue to offer shipping services from a variety of companies, including UPS, FedEx Corp. and DHL.

"Over time," Black said, "we may get to the point where there is additional promotion of UPS." -The New York Times

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