By Ian Walker 
 

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday issued an initial enforcement order on National Express Group PLC's planned takeover of Stagecoach Group PLC, preventing the companies from fully combining while it considers the deal.

Stagecoach said that while the order will delay the planned completion of the deal past Feb. 28, they don't expect it to affect the day-to-day operations of the businesses, and will work with the regulator with its review.

"At this stage, the boards of National Express and Stagecoach continue to expect the combination to complete around the end of 2022," Stagecoach said.

On Dec. 14, the companies agreed to an all-share merger, creating a company valued at around 1.9 billion pounds ($2.57 billion) based on their current market capitalizations at the time.

Under the terms of the deal, accepting Stagecoach shareholders will get 0.36 of a new National Express share for each share held. Stagecoach shareholders will own around 25% of the combined company upon completion.

The companies first announced in September that they were in merger talks.

 

Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 26, 2022 02:36 ET (07:36 GMT)

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