Bus company Stagecoach, which runs multiple bus routes through Salford, will be taken over by its closest competitor.

The Scottish company, which runs routes such as the 50 bus from East Disbury to MediaCityUK, and the 34 from Wigan to Manchester Picadilly with stops in Eccles, Worsley and Ordsall, will have its shares dropped to 25%, while National Express will takeover the remaining 75.

The deal is reported to be worth around £437 million and will mean the newly formed merger will have around 70,000 employees and 40,000 vehicles.

Stagecoach is currently the biggest bus and coach operator in Britain.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together two of the UK’s iconic transport brands to create a strong, diverse business that is well-placed to grow the market for greener and smarter public transport for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach.

The merger means 50 jobs in the head office of the company are set to be lost, but the companies say the deal will not effect drivers or depot closers.

A similar merger deal was discussed back in 2009, and saw National Express reject a £1.7 billion merger offer from Stagecoach.

The deal came to light back in September when talks emerged between the companies, both agreeing the potential deal would bring out “the best of both” businesses.

Both companies have faced troubling times thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel restrictions meaning less and less people were using their services.

Both Stagecoach and National Express saw revenues fall below £1 billion last year, with revenues of £928 million and £981 million respectively. The companies expect the deal to be confirmed and completed by the end of 2022.

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