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Stagecoach considering merger with National Express

UK bus company Stagecoach is believed to be in the throes of putting together an all paper merger with competitor National Express after a potential bidder for National Express walked away from a £765 million bid. This leaves National Express in a very difficult situation because the company has debts of over £1 billion and is struggling on the financial front.

While it is not certain that a bid will emerge from Stagecoach, Brian Souter, one of the founders of Stagecoach, is believed to be pushing for an all share bid which would bring together two of the UK's more prominent travel companies. A merger of the two operations would obviously impact upon the cost base, which could be significantly reduced, and would give the enlarged company a greater share of the UK travel industry.

The alternatives for National Express are limited because the company is in financial difficulties and many had believed that the private equity bid was the final throw the dice. If a Stagecoach bid is to emerge it is likely to happen this week because time is of the essence and action needs to be taken to halt the slide of National Express.

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