Page last updated at 07:24 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 08:24 UK

New suitor for National Express

National Express train
National Express did not say who its new suitor is

Transport group National Express says it has received a fresh takeover approach from an unnamed suitor.

The news came as rival transport firm First Group said it had scrapped plans to make a takeover bid for the company.

National Express said it had received the new bid approach after it announced First Group's takeover move on 29 June.

"There can be no certainty that this approach will lead to an offer being made... or as to the terms on which any offer might be made," the firm said.

Franchise row

On Wednesday, First Group had said it would be "inappropriate" to consider a formal takeover of National Express, because of uncertainties surrounding the business.

The government is set to take the National Express-run East Coast main line into state ownership, after the firm asked for its contract to be renegotiated.

National Express has also been warned its other rail deals may be terminated.

When the government announced it would be taking the East Coast route into state ownership, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said there might be grounds to end National Express's other two franchises - East Anglia and the London to Tilbury and Southend operation.

However, National Express has said it feels the government has "no grounds" to do this and will challenge any such attempt in court.

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