FirstGroup shares up 25% amid US sale speculation

Shares of Aberdeen-based bus and rail giant FirstGroup plc soared 26% on Monday following newspaper reports that Brookfield Asset Management, Apollo Global Management and KKR are among the potential bidders for its North American units FirstTransit and FirstStudent.

I Squared Capital, owner of Irish energy giant Energia, is also said to be interested.

On July 8, FirstGroup published annual results showing a £300 million loss before tax and warning of a “material uncertainty” as to whether it can continue as a going concern.

FirstGroup has long been under pressure from its activist investor Coast Capital Management to sell the North American businesses.

Further, Coast Capital is planning to vote against the FirstGroup board’s re-election at a shareholder meeting next week.

FirstGroup had warned investors on July 8 that “a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the group’s and the company’s ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore, that it may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business.”

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Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.