14 December 2021

Stagecoach National Express Merger is ON

Bus and coach group National Express has agreed an all-share takeover of rival Stagecoach in a deal that will bring together two of the UK’s biggest transport firms.

The deal, which comes after talks between the pair were first revealed in September, will create a combined firm worth around £1.9 billion with a fleet of about 40,000 vehicles and a workforce of around 70,000 people.

Under the terms of the tie-up, National Express shareholders would own around 75% of the combined group and Stagecoach shareholders around 25%.

The deal, which will be voted on by shareholders, values Stagecoach at around £437 million.

The firms revealed that around 50 roles are expected to be cut under plans to slash annual costs by at least £45 million following the merger.

This is an exciting opportunity to bring together two of the UK's iconic transport brands to create a strong, diverse business

The jobs are set to go across the head offices, IT and corporate departments of the two firms, as well as some overlapping senior management positions.

But they stressed there would be no front-line job losses, such as among drivers, or depot closures due to the deal.

In a bid to ease any potential regulatory competition concerns, Stagecoach also announced deals to offload the marketing, retail and customer service operations of Megabus UK and the Falcon South-West coach service, as well as its 35% stake in the Scottish Citylink Coaches joint venture.

Stagecoach chairman Ray O’Toole will become the chairman of the merged group, while National Express chief executive Ignacio Garat will keep the same role at the merged firm.

The merger comes as both firms have been hit hard by the pandemic, with passenger numbers slumping due to lockdowns, remote working and a switch away from public transport.

Government support to help transport firms through the crisis is also due to end soon.

It follows a previous attempt at a merger in 2009, when National Express rejected a £1.7 billion merger deal mooted by Stagecoach.

The former attempt at a merger between the two would have seen Stagecoach own the majority of the combined group, with National Express left with up to 40%.

Mr Garat said: “The proposed combination of National Express and Stagecoach, and the unique strengths of both companies and their teams, will create a leading multi-modal passenger transport business in the UK.”

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach, added: “This is an exciting opportunity to bring together two of the UK’s iconic transport brands to create a strong, diverse business that is well-placed to grow the market for greener and smarter public transport for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

National Express has bus and coach networks across the UK and Spain, while it also runs school bus services in America and a rail franchise in Germany.

But Stagecoach is UK focused and is Britain’s biggest bus and coach operator.

National Express said the deal will allow it to use Stagecoach’s depot network to run and maintain its coach operations while also allowing it to expand its new growth initiatives – such as private coach hire, corporate shuttle and accessible transport – across Stagecoach’s UK operations

Stagecoach Recommended All-Share Combination

Stagecoach 54319 YY65VXU

as mentioned above Stagecoach have announced the sale of Megabus AND the South West Falcon operation to Comfort Delgro Group (CDG)

“Stagecoach developed the Megabus brand in 2003, as we saw real potential in the long-distance inter-city coach market in the UK. In 2005,our belief in this market saw us create a joint venture with CDG to run the Scottish Citylink business and we further expanded our inter-citycoach business with the development of our bespoke Falcon service in the South West of England serving Bristol Airport. Through this transaction, Stagecoach ensures that those business will continue to thrive under the ownership of the world renowned CDG brand".

Stagecoach Disposals

So – what do people think? What changes if any do people think we will see over the coming months once all of this is sorted?


  1. Looks like a bus war is on the cards, time someone gave pcb(rip off merchants) a run for their money

    1. why do you think that? Cant see it making any real difference down here at all to be honest. If Stagecoach wanted a bus war down here tey could quite easily have started done anytime - they didnt as it would do either side any good. That wont change

    2. Stagecoach is struggling to operate the routes they do have, let alone trying to duplicate someone else's. The days of wasteful on-road competition and the race to the bottom are over, even the Government's Bus Back Better policy with its explicit requirement for Enhanced Bus Partnerships acknowledges that.

  2. I do hope National Express will expand ops in Plymouth a bit though. Falcon and Megabus are sold but NATIONAL express/ Stagecoach will still operate them.under tender to Del Gro Group. Hope that will keep Plymouth depot safe

  3. As the number of buses in the new company will far outnumber the express coaches, I wonder if the newly combined company will be called the National Bus Company !

  4. It's hardly the time for a bus war, operators are fighting just to survive at the moment with the ongoing pandemic situation and the current work from home advice. Besides, they don't have the drivers to cover their existing commitments, let alone any rash bus war-led expansion. Far more likely to be cuts to services rather than anything else in the near future.

  5. As an Edgbaston resident it's pretty clear up here that National Express PLC have no intention whatsoever of keeping operations such as Stagecoach South West long term. They are interested in high margin operations such as here long term with a long term asset disposal plan similar to when Granada took over Fortes

  6. be nothing.in.plymouth has we dont count down this way at tall


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