NatEx/Stagecoach merger under investigation
An investigation of the merger between National Express and Stagecoach is being made by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
National Express and Stagecoach reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share combination on 14 December 2021.
An initial enforcement order (IEO) has been made, which stops National Express or Stagecoach from disposing of material UK assets at the current time. The CMA says this is to maintain the businesses in their current shape while it commences its review of the combination of the two companies.
Stagecoach says the order to pause the merge going ahead will delay completion of the proposed sale of the marketing, retail and customer service activities of its inter-city coach businesses to ComfortDelGro beyond the previously expected completion date of 28 February 2022.
“At this stage, the Boards of National Express and Stagecoach continue to expect the Combination to complete around the end of 2022” – Stagecoach
A statement from Stagecoach said: “However, the Boards of National Express and Stagecoach continue to believe the Stagecoach Coach Disposal represents a comprehensive solution to any competition concerns that might arise from their overlapping coach operations and will engage with the CMA to allow the Stagecoach Coach Disposal to complete as soon as possible.
“We do not expect the IEO to materially affect the day to day operations of either National Express or Stagecoach, and the parties will continue to work with the CMA in relation to its review of the Combination. At this stage, the Boards of National Express and Stagecoach continue to expect the Combination to complete around the end of 2022.”