Since 1986 Milton Keynes has been synonymous with Mercedes minibuses. About that time, the company was hived off from United Counties and later privatised. Some time after the operation was acquired by the Cambus group, but when they were acquired by Stagecoach the MK operation had to be sold for competition reasons. Julian Peddle, bus entrepeneur and former co-owner of Stevensons, bought the company. He adopted the yellow livery from Stevensons and a house style used by Midland Choice, Classic of Annfield Plain and Premier Buses of Huntingdon, all companies in which Julian was involved, indeed Premier was part of the same deal as MK. Julian commenced substantial investment in new vehicles together with some shrewd secondhand acquisitions and made the company profitable, probably for the first time in its life, by diverting buses to where prospective passengers lived, rather than a nearby dual carriageway. A difference of opinion with the Milton Keynes Council who did not appreciate how a bus service should be run brought around Julian's decision to sell to Arriva the Shires in 2006 for £5.6 million. Though referred to the Competition Commission, this time they gave it their blessing, though arguably it gave Arriva a bigger monopoly in the area than Stagecoach. After four years of running Milton Keynes services under the MK Metro name and continuing the route branding scheme used by Julian the operation disappeared into Arriva corporate livery.