DEUTSCHE BAHN, the German rail and bus operator, is one step closer to acquiring Arriva as the group puts the finishing touches on a takeover package that could see the British based transport company valued at £1.6bn.
It is understood that the Deutsche Bahn board will meet this week to finalise a bid, which could see the German group table an offer of between 750p and 775p for Arriva.
Deutsche Bahn, which transports almost 3bn customers every year across Europe, the UK and North America, has been the favoured bidder for Arriva since the Sunderland based company announced last month it had been approached by a number of bidders.
It is expected that a formal offer is likely to come within the next fortnight after a month of negotiations and due diligence.
Deutsche Bahn will fight off rival bidder SNCF, which was also thought to have put in a bid last month.
Arriva is the UK’s third largest rail and bus operator and last year saw revenue come to £3.1bn and saw passenger numbers increase to over 1bn, while Deutsche Bahn saw revenue come to €29.3bn (£25.7bn) during 2009.
Arriva owns the CrossCountry intercity rail operator in the UK, runs trains in Wales and is a leader in the London bus market.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn owns a 50 per cent stake in the London Overground rail network, and is in talks with Eurotunnel about running trains through the Channel Tunnel.
Arriva declined to comment on Deutsche Bahn’s movements, while the German operator could not be contacted.