Slaughters scoops £1.9bn buses deal

Slaughter and May has scooped a mandate to advise bus giant FirstGroup on the £1.9bn acquisition of Laidlaw, America’s biggest operator of yellow school buses.

The deal, which was announced this morning (9 February), is FirstGroup’s second foray into the US. The group entered the US in 1999 ago with the £540m acqusition of school bus operator Ryder.

The cash being used to finance the acquisition will be financed through new bank facilities and equity issues of approximately £375m, including a £200m placing, which was announced separately today.

The Slaughters team was led by First Group relationship partners Nigel Boardman and Andrew Jolly. New York heavy weight Davis Polk & Wardwell advised FirstGroup on the US aspects of the deal.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom partners Peter Atkins, Bill Kunkel, Michael Hatchard and Linda Davies advised Laidlaw, which also owns the iconic Greyhound long distance buses.

The acquisition is subject to US antitrust clearance and a vote by both companies’ shareholders.