Flixbus buys Eurolines as French bus market consolidates further

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Paris (AFP)

Fast-expanding German bus company Flixbus said Thursday that it had closed its purchase of France's Eurolines, the latest consolidation of the French long-distance bus sector, the firms said.

Flixbus said it finalised the agreement to buy Eurolines from French transport group Transdev after talks that started in March. Financial details were not disclosed.

The deal will notably allow Flixbus to use Eurolines' Paris-Gallieni bus station as a hub.

Flixbus, founded in Germany in 2013, transported 45 million people last year, when the company also began services in the United States. It was a 40 percent increase in traffic from 2017.

There was a transformation in the long-distance bus sector in France, with new jumping in following its liberalisation in 2015. They received the sobriquet "Macron buses" as President Emmanuel Macron pushed through the opening of the sector while he was economy minister.

There were originally five players in France but the latest purchase whittles the number down to just two -- Flixbus and Ouibus, until now a unit of French rail operator SNCF.

French car-pooling operator BlaBlaCar is to buy Ouibus and rebrand it BlaBlaBus, in a purchase due to be finalised by the end of spring.

According to the French regulator, growth in the sector was 26 percent in 2018, with 8.9 million travellers.