National Express has insisted its proposed merger with fellow UK transport firm Stagecoach is “superior” to a rival offer from a German infrastructure investment fund.

The two transport groups agreed a £1.9 billion merger in December 2021 – only for Stagecoach’s board to decide to accept a new £595 million offer from Inframobility UK Bidco Limited, which is managed by Germany’s DWS Infrastructure fund.

In a new statement issued on Thursday (17 March), National Express said its board believed that the merger with Stagecoach “represents a superior value creation opportunity”, compared with the rival offer from DWS, which National Express said “materially undervalues” Stagecoach.

National Express added that merging with Stagecoach would create a “leading multi-modal transportation provider” in the UK, as well as delivering “significant synergies”. 

The proposed National Express-Stagecoach merger was already being investigated by the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) before the DWS bid was accepted by Stagecoach’s board earlier this month.

The decision about Stagecoach’s future will rest with its shareholders and National Express urged them to “take no action” on the DWS offer.

“The National Express board believes the combination provides Stagecoach shareholders with the opportunity to participate fully in the exciting future of the industry and the compelling growth and value creation potential of the combined group, representing a superior value creation opportunity when compared to the DWS Offer,” added National Express in its statement.

“The board of National Express therefore encourages Stagecoach shareholders to take no action in relation to the DWS offer. Further announcements by National Express will be made as and when appropriate.”

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