Competition watchdog intervenes in £370m merger deal

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has intervened in the proposed merger of National Express and Stagecoach to put a stop to the firms selling off any UK assets until the £370m deal is completed.

The interim enforcement order (IEO) means that the proposed sale of the marketing, retail and customer service activities of Stagecoach’s inter-city coach businesses to ComfortDelGro Corporation will be delayed beyond its previously expected completion date on February 28.

A statement from Stagecoach said: “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.”

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