EQT Infrastructure to acquire First Student and First Transit, the market leading providers of essential North American transportation services, for USD 4.6bn

  • EQT Infrastructure will invest in organizational, operational and digital technology enhancement opportunities to further differentiate First Student and First Transit’s service offering
  • First Student and First Transit will benefit from EQT’s global advisor network and in-house digitalization and sustainability expertise

EQT is pleased to announce that EQT Infrastructure has agreed to acquire First Student and First Transit (“the Company”), two North American subsidiaries of the UK publicly listed company, FirstGroup plc for USD 4.6 billion.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, First Student and First Transit are market leading providers of essential transportation services to schools and communities in North America.

First Student is the largest student transportation service provider in North America, providing over 900 million student journeys a year to approximately 1,000 school districts. Student transportation is a critical component of the educational ecosystem, with student success metrics and funding directly correlated to attendance, and First Student has been driving positive outcomes for students since its founding in 1983.

First Transit is a leading public transit management operator that transports 350 million passengers annually across approximately 300 locations in North America. Founded in 1955, First Transit provides essential mobility services to communities, college campuses, businesses, and elderly care facilities that are economical, safe, and environmentally friendly.

EQT Infrastructure is committed to building upon the success First Student and First Transit have already had by making investments in organizational, operational and digital technology initiatives to further improve and differentiate the Company’s service offering. Additionally, EQT Infrastructure intends to help future-proof the Company by investing in the electrification of its fleet and accelerating its transition to renewable fuel sources in order to support passenger health and reduce environmental impact.

Crosby Cook, Partner and Investment Advisor at EQT Partners, said: “First Student and First Transit play critical roles in North America’s transportation infrastructure; both businesses are market leaders, offering best-in-class safety, reliability, and service. EQT is excited to partner with the management teams of these businesses and invest in operational technology and fleet decarbonization to provide even safer and more environmentally friendly transportation services to students and communities across the continent.”

Matthew Gregory, CEO of FirstGroup, commented, “EQT has a strong record of success in the Transport & Logistics sector, and we have been impressed by EQT’s vision for investment and growth at First Student and First Transit. I am confident that EQT will be a great partner for the Company to achieve its full potential as it embarks on its next phase of growth. I want to thank the employees of First Student and First Transit for their contribution to FirstGroup over the years and I look forward to following the Company’s future success.”

The transaction is subject to customary conditions and approvals and is expected to close in Summer 2021.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as lead financial advisor to EQT Infrastructure in connection with the transaction and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal counsel. Barclays and BMO Capital Markets Corp. also served as financial advisors to EQT Infrastructure in connection with the transaction.

With this transaction, EQT Infrastructure V is expected to be 20-25 percent invested (including closed and/or signed investments, announced public offers, if applicable, and less any expected syndication) based on its target fund size, and subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Contact
US inquiries: Stephanie Greengarten, +1 646 687 6810, [email protected]
International inquiries: EQT Press Office, +46 8 506 55 334, [email protected]

About EQT
EQT is a purpose-driven global investment organization with more than EUR 67 billion in assets under management across 26 active funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas with total sales of approximately EUR 29 billion and more than 175,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.

More info: www.eqtgroup.com
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About First Student
First Student is the largest student transportation service provider in North America, providing over 900 million student journeys a year at approximately 1,000 school districts. The Company has 48,000 employees who operate a fleet of over 42,000 school busses and provide an essential service to North American students.

More info: www.firststudentinc.com

About First Transit
First Transit is a leading public transit management operator that transports over 300 million passengers annually across around 300 locations in North America. Founded in 1955, First Transit provides essential mobility services to communities, college campuses, businesses, and elderly care facilities that are economical, safe, and environmentally friendly.

More info: www.firsttransit.com