Cincinnati Today, FirstGroup announced it has entered into an agreement for the sale of First Student and First Transit to EQT Infrastructure. The proposed sale brings together North America’s market leaders in school and public transportation with one of the world’s largest infrastructure investors. First Student and First Transit operations will continue as usual and uninterrupted with the same local teams and leadership.
“We are pleased to have agreed on the sale of First Student and First Transit in a transaction which recognizes their strategic value. Both are resilient, high-quality businesses with strong prospects for returning to normal levels of service following the pandemic,” said FirstGroup Chief Executive Matthew Gregory. “Our colleagues at First Student and First Transit have built excellent relationships with their customers over many years, and we are proud of their commitment and expertise. I would like to pay tribute to everyone in these businesses and acknowledge the vital role they play in their communities, both now and for many years to come.”
EQT is a global private equity firm and blue-chip infrastructure investor. They are highly reputable and experienced and, as such, took a long-term view to look beyond the immediate effects of the pandemic. They have deployed $11 billion in equity in North America since 2012.
“This news reinforces that the steps we’re taking to grow our business are working,” said First Student President Paul Osland. “While challenging, the pandemic has illustrated that we are able to maintain operations and generate stable returns even in the most difficult operating conditions. Our full focus continues to be on providing safe, reliable, industry-leading service in the communities where we operate.”
Both First Student and First Transit are market-leading businesses that benefit from substantial scale, best-in-class operating track records, a forward-looking focus on innovation, and highly experienced management teams. Both First Student and First Transit enjoy industry-leading contract retention and customer satisfaction ratings.
“This is a great business that has established a strong and profitable platform which positions us for sustainable growth over time. We will continue to invest in new opportunities and technologies that set us apart from our competitors,” said First Transit President Brad Thomas. “Through it all, our communities and customers will remain at the heart of everything we do.”
FirstGroup first announced a review of strategic alternatives regarding First Student and First Transit as a means to unlock shareholder value in December 2019. In March 2020, FirstGroup initiated a formal process to sell both divisions.
The sale is subject to both FirstGroup shareholder approval and regulatory approval. It is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021. The FirstGroup and EQT news releases are posted and available.
About FirstGroup plc
First Student and First Transit are part of FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L). With £7.8 billion in revenue in the year to 31 March 2020 and around 100,000 employees, we transported 2.1 billion passengers in the year. Whether for business, education, health, social or recreation we get our customers where they want to be, when they want to be there. We create solutions that reduce complexity, making travel smoother and life easier. We provide easy and convenient mobility, improving quality of life by connecting people and communities. Visit our website at http://www.firstgroupplc.com and follow us @firstgroupplc on Twitter.
About First Student
As the leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, First Student strives to provide the best start and finish to every school day. First Student completes five million student journeys each day, moving more passengers than all U.S. airlines combined. With a team of highly-trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services including full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization and scheduling, maintenance, and charter services with a fleet of about 40,000 buses. For more information, please visit firststudentinc.com.
About First Transit
First Transit, Inc. has more than 60 years of experience and is the largest private-sector provider of mobility solutions in North America, moving more than 300 million passengers annually. First Transit, Inc. provides operation, management and consulting for more than 300 locations in 39 states, Canada and Puerto Rico for transit authorities, state departments of transportation, municipalities, airports, universities and private companies. First Transit employs more than 19,000 dedicated transit professionals. For additional information, please visit FirstTransit.com. To see how First Transit is leading the way in shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) initiatives, please visit FirstAV.com.
Corporate.Comms@firstgroup.com, +44 (0) 20 7725 3354