18 October 2021

National Express handed more time to make Stagecoach takeover bid

18 October 2021

National Express has been given more time to place a firm takeover offer for transport rival Stagecoach.

Last month, the two firms confirmed they were in talks over a merger deal which would value Stagecoach at around £445 million.

It comes after both firms were hit hard by the pandemic, with passenger numbers slumping due to lockdowns, remote working and a switch away from public transport.

Under the terms of the possible tie-up, National Express would own around 75% of the combined group and Stagecoach shareholders around 25%.

National Express had been given until 5pm on October 19 to make a firm offer or walk away, under City Takeover Panel rules.

However, the Takeover Panel has extended this to allow National Express until 5pm on November 16 to make its move or give up on the deal altogether.

The UK coach firm said the potential merger would be expected to result in “one-off” costs of around £40 million to actively reap the benefits, which would be split between the two operations in the first two years.

“Discussions between Stagecoach and National Express have continued, with respective management teams and advisers working constructively to progress reciprocal due diligence,” Stagecoach said in a statement.

Shares in National Express dropped by 3.1% in early trading, while Stagecoach moved 3.4% lower.

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