Drivers could get Go-Ahead for pounds 17,000 lift

Scores of Brighton bus drivers yesterday found themselves in line for windfall payments of around pounds 17,000 each following a recommended pounds 5.76m takeover bid from the Go-Ahead Group to buy their company, Brighton Transport.

But the planned takeover by the fast-growing bus and rail group from the Gateshead-based Go-Ahead could still be halted by intervention of the competition authorities which said last night they were looking at the case.

Martin Ballinger, managing director of Go-Ahead, is confident the deal will go through without a hitch. He said yesterday: "It would be very peculiar if this was referred, considering that Stagecoach and FirstBus have dominant positions in cities like Southampton and Portsmouth."

The Office of Fair Trading confirmed it was considering whether the Brighton Transport takeover fell within its remit. But a spokesman added: "We look at hundreds of these type of cases."

It would not be Go-Ahead's first brush with the competition authorities. Two years ago it was forced to give undertakings to the Department of Trade after being accused by the Mergers and Monopolies Commission of "predatory pricing" in the North-east of England.

The Go-Ahead Group has been operating rival Brighton & Hove bus services to Brighton Transport for four years. It has seen a significant increase in passenger volumes as the local authority discourages city-centre car use.

Go-Ahead, which also operates bus services in Oxford and London, saw its underlying interim profits to 28 December rise by 82 per cent to pounds 12.2m. The company also operates the Thames Link and Thames Train services.

The proposed tie-up with Brighton Transport on the basis of 180p-per- Brighton-Transport share, has board approval. But the offer must still be approved by shareholders of Brighton Transport at an extraordinary general meeting.

Drivers and conductors are part of the 242 staff members who own Brighton Transport and its fleet of 84 buses and coaches.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific