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Stagecoach makes fresh offer for National Express

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by Kay Mitchell

Stagecoach has approached rival National Express with a £1.7 billion offer after a Spanish-led consortium withdrew its £765 million offer last week for the rail and bus group.

Stagecoach, the operator of South West Trains and East Midlands Trains, has made a new all-share offer for its rival, following the withdrawal of the Spanish-led consortium, which comprised private equity firm CVC Capital and National Express’s largest shareholder, the Cosmen family.

After the CVC-Cosmen consortium pulled out, shares in National Express plummeted by 23%.

The company has been the subject of takeover speculation since it unveiled a loss of £20 million in the first half of 2009 on its east coast route.

Meanwhile, National Express has confirmed the approach and said it was considering it. It would mean shareholders would control up to 40% of the enlarged group.

However, National Express said it wants to proceed with a £400 million heavily discounted rights issue this year to help it reduce its £977 million mountain of debt.

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News posted: October 19, 2009

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