National Express finalises offer in Stagecoach takeover battle

National Express has said it will not be increasing its offer for Stagecoach as the takeover battle with DWS looks to be nearing its end.

The Birmingham-based travel group first made its plans public last September. However in March investor DWS came forward with a bid that offers more value in the short term, which was backed by the Stagecoach board.

The takeover battle is complicated because while DWS has made a £595m cash offer, National Express will be paying in shares.

In a statement to the stock market, the company said: “National Express therefore considers the terms of its proposal to be full and fair and has decided that the terms will not be increased and are now final.”

It has said it will give 0.36 National Express shares in exchange for each Stagecoach share – an offer that was initially worth £370m.

But National Express’s share price has risen since September and at Friday’s closing price of 248p, the offer is now valued at £490m.

National Express’s share price would need to rise above 300p to match the direct value in the DWS offer. The year before the pandemic, the group’s shares traded almost exclusively over 400p.

However the transport group also believes there are annual cost savings of £45m to be found from a combined group and that with other synergies added in its offer is at a 7% premium to the DWS offer.

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