FirstGroup PLC announced that it has completed the sale of its North American school bus and public transportation companies to global investor EQT Infrastructure.
As School Bus Fleet previously reported, in April, FirstGroup entered into an agreement with EQT Infrastructure to acquire its contract business — First Student and First Transit — for a total of $4.6 billion.
Under the sale agreement, First Student and First Transit operations will reportedly continue as usual and uninterrupted with the same local teams and leadership, according to a news release from the school transportation provider. Additionally, FirstGroup has proposed to increase payouts to its shareholders, from $502.7 million to $688.6 million.
“It’s an exciting time. We now move into a new chapter for our organization,” said Paul Osland, president of First Student, in the company's news release. “EQT Infrastructure will help us grow, and we’ll continue to invest in our people and cutting-edge technologies. As we look ahead to a new school year, our full focus continues to be on providing safe, reliable, and industry-leading service in the communities we operate.”
First Transit President Brad Thomas added in the release that the deal with EQT Infrastructure will help the business accelerate its growth as it continues to “invest in new opportunities and technologies that set the highest standards.”
As SBF previously reported, FirstGroup first announced a review of strategic alternatives regarding the sale of First Student and First Transit in December 2019. At the same time, the company was also in the process of selling Greyhound, which it had announced in May 2019, and was creating an efficiency program for First Bus, its U.K.-based intercity bus service. About three months later, in March 2020, FirstGroup initiated a formal process to sell both its school bus and public transit divisions.