Herbert Smith advises Stagecoach in US drive

Herbert Smith, Simmons & Simmons and US firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett have won a race against time to put Stagecoach on the road in the US.

The firms advised on the transport group's u1.16bn takeover of Coach USA. The deal was completed in just three weeks in the face of other competing bids.

Herbert Smith acted for Stagecoach in the UK, with senior corporate partner Richard Fleck leading a five-strong team including corporate partner Ben Ward and banking partner Nicholas Tott.

George Kennedy, senior corporate partner at Simmons & Simmons, advised Coach USA in the UK. Both firms have acted for their respective clients on a number of occasions.

But Simpson Thacher has gained a new client in Stagecoach, with London corporate partner Michael Wolfson heading the firm's team on US issues including tax, antitrust and compensation.

And since Stagecoach is considering a US listing and further transatlantic acquisitions, the New York firm may have formed a lucrative long-term relationship.

The deal is subject to informal approval by the US Surface Transportation Board (STB).

Stagecoach will buy 51 per cent of Coach USA shares, which will be placed in a voting trust, says Ward. Once this has been approved by the STB, Stagecoach will buy the remaining shares and register the merged company in Delaware.

“Most US companies are incorporated in Delaware, because its corporate law is very forgiving and amenable to modern business,” says Ward.

Houston firm Locke Liddell & Sapt advised Coach USA in the US.