Anglia Railways taken over by rivals

IPSWICH-based Anglia Railways was today poised to be taken over by the company behind rival Great Eastern.Transport giant First Group today launched a surprise bid for GB Railways, owner of Anglia, offering £2.

IPSWICH-based Anglia Railways was today poised to be taken over by the company behind rival Great Eastern.

Transport giant First Group today launched a surprise bid for GB Railways, owner of Anglia, offering £2.50 a share which values the company at £22 million.

The move comes after First were excluded from the bidding for the new Greater Anglia franchise – and GB Railways were seen as the hot tip to win the battle.

National Express and Arriva Trains are the other companies in the running to run the new franchise which is due to come into existence in April next year.


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GB Railways has recommended its shareholders to accept the bid which will pay them £2.50 a share now and a further £2 a share if the company is successful in winning the franchise.

Just 18 months ago the company's shares were worth just 37p.

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Anglia Railways has its headquarters and today staff were being told about the takeover bid.

About 50 people work at its headquarters at St Clare House in Ipswich – but it was unclear today what impact the move would have on jobs.

However there is going to be a major shake-up of administrators next year when the new franchise comes into place, and there are unlikely to be many changes before then.

Commenting on the offer, First Chief Executive Moir Lockhead said:

"We intend to keep GB as a wholly-owned subsidiary to add strength to First's existing rail division. We are delighted to have them working alongside us."

The Strategic Rail Authority said today that First Group had given it assurances that GB Railways would be run as an independent subsidiary of the main company.

"GB Railways remains in the bidding for the Greater Anglia franchise, so far as we are concerned this move does not mean First have re-entered the bidding," a spokesman said.

It was a major shock when First Group were excluded from the Greater Anglia franchise when the shortlisted companies were announced in April.

First had been seen as a clear favourite when the plans for the huge franchise covering all lines out of Liverpool Street station were announced last year.

Despite winning a court review, the company formally withdrew its legal action last month.

"Today's move proves there's more than one way to skin a cat," said an industry insider today.

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