BUS and rail operator FirstGroup was quickly out of the traps today to agree a £1.9bn bid for the company owning America's Greyhound buses.
The deal to buy Laidlaw will also see FirstGroup becoming the biggest single school bus operator in the US.
It will combine its existing Stateside company First Student, which it acquired seven years ago, with Laidlaw's school bus business, which operates across 37 states in America and six provinces in Canada.
Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, which operates buses in the Huddersfield area and runs the trans-Pennine express rail route, will issue £200m of new shares to finance the deal.
It said the new issue was not conditional on the takeover going ahead.
Laidlaw runs the famous Greyhound buses as well as yellow school buses.
FirstGroup bought US yellow school bus company Ryder - since rebraned First Student - for £540m seven years ago.
The deal with Laidlaw will give FirstGroup a near-50% share of the school bus business in the USA.
That could prompt calls from competition watchdogs for the group to pass on some of its school board contracts.
Reports suggest the deal may also face opposition from unions in the US.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters - the body which represents many US school bus drivers - is understood to oppose the takeover plan.
The move follows FirstGroup's "excellent" performance in its half-year results - announced last November - when it overcame rising fuel costs to post an 8% rise in pre-tax profits to £59.9m.
FirstGroup, led by chief executive Moir Lockhead, runs four rail franchises in the UK - First Great Western, First Capital Connect, First TransPennine Express and First ScotRail.
It also plans to bid for the East Coast mainline service currently being run by GNER.
FirstGroup also operates one in five bus services across the country - carrying 2.9m passengers a day.