Miranda Dobson

OFT approves Stagecoach-First acquisition of Wigan bus depot

Bus operator Stagecoach’s acquisition of a First Manchester bus depot in Wigan has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Details of the purchase were published on Friday after the decision was finalised at the end of February.

The £12m transaction will see Stagecoach absorb the Wigan depot’s business and assets including 115 vehicles and 300 employees.

First Manchester invited bids for the site on Lockett Road early in 2012 and confirmed Stagecoach as the successful bidder in December last year.

The site brought in revenues of £13.2m for the year ending March 2012, while Stagecoach’s owner firm, Greater Manchester Buses West (GMBW) turned over £97.3m for the year ending April 2012.

OFT picked up the deal through its own its own-initiative investigation, however after an assessment it found no grounds to refer the transaction on to the Competition Commission.

The Office said: “The OFT considers that the Transaction does not give rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition with respect to network level competition.

“[We do] not believe that it is or may be the case that the merger has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom.”

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