NatEx deadline to decide on offer for Stagecoach extended

National Express gets deadline extension to consider possible offer for Stagecoach

The deadline by which National Express must announce whether it will make an offer to purchase Stagecoach has been extended by four weeks to 16 November following a request from Stagecoach.

National Express confirmed on 21 September that it was considering a bid for Stagecoach. At that time, the potential purchaser was required by 19 October to announce a firm intention to make an offer or to walk away, unless that deadline was extended. Stagecoach says that discussions “have continued, with respective management teams and advisers working constructively to progress reciprocal due diligence.”

An extension to the deadline has been agreed by the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers. The new 16 November cut-off can be further pushed back by Stagecoach’s Board with the Panel’s consent.

When confirming that it was considering making an offer to purchase Stagecoach, National Express said that a completed deal would deliver “significant operational efficiencies across the combined networks” and allow it to accelerate the expansion of its key growth sectors. Plans call for current National Express Chief Executive Ignacio Garat to retain that position in the combined business, with Ray O’Toole as Chair.

A recent trading update from National Express showed that its group revenue in Q3 was 83% of the same period in 2019, up from 76% on the same basis in Q2. Its UK bus patronage is at 76% of pre-COVID-19 levels. The UK Coach division’s passenger numbers are 52% by the same metric.