German asset manager DWS published today its final offer to Stagecoach, giving the company’s shareholders until 21 May to accept it.
Stagecoach said the £594.9m cash offer will offer investors a 54.3 per cent premium on the bus company’s closing price on 20 September, as well as 37.2 per cent increase on the closing price of 76.55p on 8 March.
“In deciding to unanimously recommend the offer, the Stagecoach directors consider that the value, certainty and timing advantage of the all-cash offer provides a more attractive proposition for Stagecoach Shareholders than the National Express offer,” Stagecoach’s board of directors said in a message to shareholders.
According to the board, DWS’s offer gives investors “increased value certainty” due to a shorter completion timetable and lower execution risks.
The two-month period given to investors to accept the offer could perhaps offer National Express – who had initially struck a deal with Stagecoach before DWS’s appearance – the possibility to ramp up its proposal.
National Express said last week a merger between the two companies could unlock dividends higher than those offered by DWS, City A.M. reported.
According to National Express, a merger could see share value go up to 170p per Stagecoach share – a 66 per cent premium on DWS’s 105p.
The Birmingham-based giant said that joining the two companies would create the UK’s leading multi-modal transport provider, as it would expand across urban areas, combining the two companies’ capabilities in a “best of both worlds” approach.