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Cosmen family nears National Express acquisition

The Cosmen family and its private equity partners CVC Capital have moved a step closer to acquiring the National Express Group after the UK transport company extended the deadline for a formal offer.

National Express admitted on Friday that the Spain-based Cosmens and CVC had been permitted to undertake due diligence so that they are "better able to reach a position where it could make a formal offer at 500 pence per share in cash."

Jorge Cosmen (pictured), deputy chairman of National Express and the group's largest shareholder, did not take part in any discussions relating his family's proposals, said a statement, which also revealed that an "agreement of principles" has been reached between Cosmen/CVC and Stagecoach Group for the latter to purchase National Express Group's UK bus and rail operations.

The Cosmens first made an offer in July (Click here to read our coverage of the story). This was rejected in addition to a second offer in August (Click here to read our coverage of the story).

The family first became involved with the transport group in 2005 when National Express purchased the family coach business, Alsa. As part of the sale the Cosmens gained a 10% stake in National Express and have since increased its holding to 18.5%.

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