FIRSTGROUP has a new largest shareholder after an American-based asset management giant increased its stake in the bus and rail giant to more than 10 per cent.

Columbia Threadneedle, owned ultimately by Minneapolis-based Ameriprise, now has a bigger shareholding in the firm than Coast Capital, the US activist which launched a campaign to oust the bulk of the board at FirstGroup in the early summer.

Columbia had been the biggest investor in Aberdeen-based FirstGroup until the spring. It now holds 10.856% following its most recent share purchase, having increased its stake from 8.62%.

READ MORE: FirstGroup sees off investor revolt, but chairman Wolfhart Hauser to go

Coast began to build its stake in December when it acquired a 4.1% shareholding, which it subsequently increased to 10.01 % via share purchases in April and May.

It forced a general meeting of FirstGroup after publicly criticising the performance of the company and questioning the experience of its board, and called for six of the 11 board members to be replaced by seven of its nominees.

Coast failed to win sufficient shareholder support for its resolutions at the general meeting in June, however chairman Wolfhart Hauser said he he would not seek re-election as a director.

Mr Hauser, who saw nearly 30 per cent of the voted shares support a resolution calling for his removal, has since been replaced by David Martin, former boss of Arriva. Mr Martin last week stepped down from the board at Greenock-based McGill’s Bus Service to take up the role.

A spokesman for Coast said its stake in FirstGroup remains unchanged.

Shares in FirstGroup closed up 1.6p at 127.7p.