National Express Says In Talks with Consortium

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s National Express (NEX.L) has started talks with the consortium led by its largest shareholder that has made a $1.3 billion approach for the bus and train operator. “The independent board confirms that it is discussing certain aspects of the final proposal with the consortium,” National Express said in a statement on Thursday.

Its shares were up 3.1 percent at 478 pence at 0846 GMT, still some way below the improved 500 pence proposed offer.

It added there was still no certainty the approach would lead to an offer and that a further announcement would be made as appropriate.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that the comapny was ready to accept the proposed offer of 500 pence per share from Spain’s Cosmen family and private equity house CVC Capital Partners.

National Express had previously rejected an approach pitched at 450 pence per share but last week said it was considering the improved proposal.

The consortium has until Sept 11 to make a formal offer for National Express or walk away.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by John Bowker)