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June 29 2016
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Stagecoach sells Megabus Europe to FlixBus

Stagecoach has agreed to sell the retail operations of its Megabus Europe business to FlixMobility GmbH, trading as FlixBus; Europe’s largest long-distance coach network.

Instead, it will continue as a contractor to FlixBus. While Stagecoach has not exited Europe, its position has changed from one where it determines its own future, to that of a contractor status.

As for the brand, Stagecoach says: “As part of the deal FlixBus has certain rights to use the Megabus brand in Europe. Ultimately, whether it uses that brand for these services is a decision for FlixBus.”

Stagecoach has agreed that it will dispose of a number of vehicles to FlixBus “at a future date”

In addition, Stagecoach has agreed that it will dispose of a number of vehicles to FlixBus “at a future date.”

It means that Stagecoach has moved from being the sole operator, to a contractor to FlixBus, similar to the relationship that National Express has with contractors.

The deal marks further consolidation in the newly opened European inter-city coach market.

The sale, for an undisclosed amount, is expected to be concluded around 1 July.

Only Megabus retailing operations involving mainland Europe are part of the sale.  

Megabus Europe comprises retailing activities and coach operating.

The retailing involves the design of inter-city coach services, including their timetabling, co-ordination and marketing, as well as the pricing and sale of journeys.

The coach operating activities encompass the day-to-day operation and staffing.

In a statement Stagecoach says: “We have agreed the sale to FlixBus of the retailing part of that business. 

“We will continue to operate a number of European inter-city coach services as a contractor to FlixBus and we look forward to building on our relationship with it.”

Instead of paying cash, FlixBus will issue a loan note to Stagecoach to be paid by 31 December 2017. It is not subject to any conditions or performance criteria.

Stagecoach says it “expects to report a gain on disposal in respect of the sale” in year-end accounts to 30 April 2017.

Existing customer bookings for Europe journeys remain valid and these services are continuing to operate as normal.

FlixBus was founded by three young entrepreneurs in Munich. At the same time, MeinFernbus began operating bus routes from Berlin throughout Germany. When, in 2013, the German government over-turned a 1930s law that banned coach-rail competition, the two start-ups established themselves as the leaders of the long-distance market and gained a strong position against international competitors.

After a merger of its teams in Munich and Berlin, it became the German market leader.

Since then FlixBus has expanding internationally with domestic long-distance networks in France, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, as well as the regular cross-border services to Scandinavia, Spain, England and the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

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