NATIONAL Express has been granted more time to decide whether to pursue a merger with rival Stagecoach.
The firm had been due to decide on taking forward the deal by this afternoon but an agreement with the Takeover Panel will see that deadline extended to the middle of next month.
National Express confirmed on September 21 that it was looking into a combination with the UK's largest bus operator, reducing costs for both parties.
"Discussions between the parties and reciprocal due diligence remain ongoing and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made," read statements by both firms to markets yesterday.
The offer would value Stagecoach at around £445m.
National Express shares fell by 3.39 per cent yesterday after the news, and Stagecoach tumbled by 3.22 per cent.
Even if a deal is struck, a pact is likely to land on the desk of the competition regulator, which may look unkindly on a sizable increase in market share.
Stagecoach is currently in the middle of industrial disputes, with bus drivers across the country pushing for industrial action over demands for higher pay.
(c) 2021 City A.M., source Newspaper