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Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised long-standing client Stagecoach Group plc (Stagecoach) on its recommended all-share merger with National Express Group plc (NatEx). The merger will create a £1.9 billion UK-headquartered transport group. 

Stagecoach has also announced the disposal of three inter-city coach retail and platform businesses to Comfort DelGro Corporation, in a transaction aiming to proactively address potential regulatory considerations. The firm also led on the disposal and Stagecoach's ongoing relationship with the retail and platform businesses.  

Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Stagecoach for over 25 years across a range of acquisitions and disposals, debt and equity financings, disputes, rail franchises and pensions and competition law matters. NatEx's offer has come at critical inflection point for a sector seeking to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while transitioning to zero emission public transport in an increasingly 'bus friendly' UK market.  

Herbert Smith Freehills' team was led by Corporate partners Ben Ward and Robert Moore, with senior associates Lucy Robson and Harriet Forrest, alongside associates Ruchi Shah, Mary Hughes and Yusra Jafar.  

The wider team included Tim Briggs, Susan Black, Joe Williams and Tom Kemp (CRT), John Williams and Lizzie Gadsby (Corporate), Samantha Brown, Mark Howard and Joe Goddard (Pensions), Paul Ellerman, Mark Ife and Chris White (Incentives), Christine Young, Dave Palmer, Peter Le and Joshua Peters (Employment), Miriam Everett and Jeremy Purton (TMT/Data Protection), Kathryn Oie (Real Estate) and George McCubbin (IP). 

Ben Ward said "We're thrilled to have been on board with Stagecoach for their merger with National Express. Herbert Smith Freehills' relationship with Stagecoach stretches back over 25 years and we look forward to continuing the journey together."  

Key contacts

Ben Ward photo

Ben Ward

Partner, London

Ben Ward
Robert Moore photo

Robert Moore

Partner, London

Robert Moore

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Lydia Lam

Lydia Lam, Head of Communications, UK, US & EMEA