02 October 2009

John Preece responds

"We will use the courts if necessary”

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News from This is Plymouth yesterday:
TAXI mogul John Preece today said he was 'astonished' to learn his consortium was out of the running to buy Citybus – and stressed he still wanted the bus company. The Taxifast chairman said Plymouth City Council had not told him it was dropping the bid. He is now contemplating legal action in an effort to gain control of a company he has coveted for 21 years. "We never give up hope," he told The Herald. "We will use the courts if necessary."

Mr Preece has make no secret of his desire to acquire the council-owned bus firm over the years, and even offered £13million in 2002. "I have wanted it for 21 years," he said. But he said his consortium had declined to reveal financial information to the council, when requested, because he did not feel it was necessary. He was also wary of disclosing information, claiming he had a bad experience when he bought Western National in the 1980s, before it was sold to First.
He also said: "I think they have already decided who is going to buy Citybus."

However, a council spokeswoman insisted a report outlining the recommended way forward would go to Full Council on November 30 when a final decision whether to sell any shares in Plymouth CityBus would be made.

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It does indeed seem odd that the council go public that the Preece led bid isn't being considered without telling J Preece himself. It also shows that this story is going to run and run, well beyond any final announcement by the council in November.

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