Stagecoach is an example of a business that has expanded through external growth and successfully! Founded in wake of the deregulation of the 1980s just like Preston bus and the all the other small bus firms, yet Stagecoach would grow into one of the market leaders. In the UK Stagecoach would be come one of 5 oligopoists however locally Stagecoach would be one of the most aggressive monopolists in recent history.
Stagecoach entered the market as a completely new firm (yet previously dealing in minibus hire). At first Stagecoach offer bus hire, with a personal service then it quickly began growth and the first firm to be bought out by Stagecoach was McLennan Of Spittalfield. This allowed Stagecoach to move from merely operating hire services out of their home of Perth (Scotland) into operating local services to Glasgow under the name Magicbus.
This was the beginning of huge growth for Stagecoach, through out the late 1980s. Along with rivals Arriva, Stragecoach opted for an aggressive take over strategy. Stagecoach took over maybe bus services including: East Midlands, Cumberland, Southdown and Ribble.
Stagecoach took over Ribble bus in 1988 and instantly moved for dominance across the North West.
Stagecoach renamed Ribble bus to Stagecoach Ribble and soon began buying up other bus local companies. Stagecoach took over Barrow Borough Transport and created Stagecoach Cumbria out of the Cumbrian bus services. The Northwest was just one if the regions Stagecoach targeted, it grew to dominance across various regions all across the UK and even bought out bus operators globally buying up UTM in Malawi.
By the 2000s Stagecoach and bough up many smaller bus companies and had strong market share across major cities such as Manchester, London, Newcastle and Liverpool. There 1990s diversification into the rail industried captured a significant market share and expansion globally was large scale. In 2001 all of the Northwest bus groups were merged into the group Stagecoach North West but it was not until 2006 that the bus wars truly began.
In 2006 Stage coach formed Stagecoach Preston Citi, its goal: to directly compete with Preston Bus!
Main sources: Stagecoach Group: History, Wikipedia: Stagecoach Group, Stagecoach Northwest