Following a referral by the OFT, the CC has been investigating the completed acquisition of Preston Bus Limited (“Preston Bus”) by Stagecoach Group Plc (“Stagecoach”) since May 2009. In its provisional decision in September, the CC considered that the acquisition of Preston Bus would substantially lessen competition, and potentially harm the interests of passengers through the raising of prices and worsening of service levels.

In the CC’s final report published on 11 November 2009, it decided that Stagecoach must sell Preston Bus, having concluded that divestment is the most appropriate way to restore competition and safeguard passenger interests within Preston. The sale will include a bus depot, other assets and a network of routes formerly operated by Preston Bus. The CC must also approve the successful bidder to ensure that it is capable of being an effective competitor to Stagecoach.

51/09 – 11 November 2009