In a shift from what had been expected, Eastleigh business Xela Group – which includes Xelabus and Xelacoach – purchased the Bournemouth-based Yellow Coaches Ltd business and the Yellow Coaches brand from its former Directors on 5 August.
The deal captures Yellow Coaches’ contract work including home-to-school services, private hire duties, and a Megabus service between Poole and London, but not commitments on behalf of National Express. It is understood that those operations have instead been either purchased by the PLC or taken in-house
At the time of writing, National Express would not be drawn on the status of any deal and thus its precise involvement remains unclear, but on 4 August it said that it was in “final discussions with administrators” to purchase the Yellow Coaches business along with engineering facilities and in doing so safeguard “approximately 50 jobs.” National Express adds that a statement will be issued in due course.
No vehicles form part of the deal with Xela Group, but it has taken the Yellow Coaches O-Licence that has 20 discs. A spokesperson says it is “making arrangements” to provide the necessary coaches and buses. Xela Group is speaking to staff about them transferring and adds that it will look to secure further contract work in the Bournemouth area.
As a separate business, Yellow Coaches continued to trade beyond the end of Bournemouth Transport Ltd, which traded as Yellow Buses, although the two organisations had the same Directors. Yellow Buses ceased operation on 4 August after no buyer could be found by administrators. Some leased vehicles with Yellow Buses were quickly reclaimed by their owners.
Speaking about the purchase by Xela Group, former Yellow Coaches Director and shareholder Simon Newport says: “It is fantastic that the Xela Group team has agreed to keep Yellow Coaches going in Bournemouth. I am confident that the business will continue to provide school contracts and tenders across the conurbation to a high level. The future looks bright for Yellow Coaches.”
Xela Group says it will continue to develop the Yellow Coaches business and is looking to establish a new base “within the vicinity” of the existing Yeomans Way site from which to operate. It quickly updated the Yellow Coaches website to reflect the change in ownership.
Earlier in 2022, Xelabus acquired Isle of Wight coach operator Seaview Services. After completion of that deal, Managing Director of Xelabus and Xela Group Gareth Blair noted that the Hampshire group had been looking to establish a coaching division “for some time.”
Further information on the involvement of National Express will follow when available.