THE owner of Southampton’s Bluestar buses has received two takeover approaches which it would be “minded” to accept.

Shares in transport firm Go-Ahead surged after the takeover talks were confirmed.

Go-Ahead told shareholders that it had received an unsolicited approach from Australian firm Kelsian.

It was also approached about a potential takeover by a consortium consisting of another Australian bus operator, Kinetic, and transport infrastructure company Globalvia.

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Go-Ahead group, which is the UK’s biggest operator of double decker buses, did not disclose the value of the approaches.

It added that there “can be no certainty” that an offer will be made by either suitor.

Go-Ahead’s subsidiary Go South Coast was formed in 2003 and owns a string of bus and coach businesses across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Wiltshire.

They include Southampton’s Bluestar, whose fleet was the first to trial “air filtering buses” in the UK, extracting particulates from the air to clean the streets as the buses travel.

The Hants & Dorset Trim bus and coach repair and refurbishment business in Eastleigh is also part of the group.

The other Go South Coast brands are Morebus in Bournemouth and Poole, Salisbury Reds, Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight, Excelsior and Damory in Dorset and Tourist Coaches in Salisbury.

Go South Coast describes its business as “one of the largest and most diverse bus companies in the UK, with a complex and rewarding portfolio of businesses”.

All the companies have local branding “to give identity to each of the towns, cities and areas in which they operate”.

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In a statement, Go-Ahead said: “The board of Go-Ahead carefully evaluated the approaches from each of Kelsian and the Consortium together with its financial adviser, Rothschild & Co.

“Following the response by the board of Go-Ahead to their respective approaches, Kelsian and the Consortium each submitted a series of revised proposals.

“The most recent revised proposals received from each of Kelsian and the Consortium are both at a level which, should a firm offer be made, the board of Go-Ahead would be minded to recommend such a firm offer to Go-Ahead shareholders, subject to the agreement of other customary terms and conditions.”

The approaches come amid a rise in takeover interest in the transport sector as investors bank on the industry’s continued recovery following the impact of the pandemic.

Rival Stagecoach is set to be bought by German investor DWS in a £595million deal, after it received support over a previous merger deal by coach giant National Express.

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