Shares in Go-Ahead (GOG.L) the maker of London's iconic double decker buses soared after it received two takeover bids as investors bet on a revival in the UK transport industry.
The FTSE 250 (^FTMC) firm, which runs the Govia Thameslink franchise, rose as much as 19.2% in afternoon trade on Monday in London. Shares were up just over 14% at the time of writing.
The latest surge boosted Go-Ahead's market value to £620m, putting it on track to close at the highest level since March 2020.
Go-Ahead said the two suitors had made revised offers, both of which the board would be minded to recommend if firm offers were made.
A consortium of Australian bus operator Kinetic Holding, which is backed by Canadian pension manager OPTrust and Globalvia, made an unsolicited approach, a company statement said on Monday.
Go-Ahead also received separate takeover interest from Sydney-listed transport operator Kelsian Group (KLS.AX).
The company has granted due diligence to the parties, it said. Both Kelsian and the consortium have until 5pm on 11 July under UK takeover rules to either announce a firm intention to make an offer or withdraw their interest.
The transport company has been tipped as a takeover target since it was stripped of the Southeastern rail franchise following a scandal over failing to repay taxpayer cash, sparking a £100m drop in its value.
Go-Ahead runs nearly a quarter of the capital's buses, including some of the city’s zero-emission fleet.
The company operates Govia Thameslink, the UK’s biggest railway company, which is in charge of commuter-train services into the capital as well as the Gatwick Express line to one of London's airports.
It was awarded a contract in March to run the network for three more years. Go-Ahead also operates transport services in Ireland, Norway, Germany and Singapore.
In September, the Newcastle-based company and its French partner Keolis SA were stripped of their rights to run the Southeastern rail network, which connects London with the Kent and Sussex counties, after failing to turn over funds to the government as specified by franchise terms.
The news comes as trade union RMT threatens a three-day strike of 50,000 rail workers starting 21 June in a dispute over wages.
Watch: What are SPACs?