Cox & Kings has completed the long-awaited disposal of its schools and youth activity arm PGL for a sum of £467 million.
A consortium of investors, led by Midlothian Capital Partners, has acquired HB Education Limited, the holding company for PGL.
HB Education provides residential adventure and study trips for schools, youth organisations and young people through the PGL brand, as well as educational tours for schools and further or higher education students through its NST, EST, Studylink and Travelplus brands.
The company was founded by Peter Lawrence in the late 1950s, initially offering canoe trips on the River Wye.
It was acquired by Holidaybreak in 2007 and merged with NST before Cox & Kings swooped in 2011 with a deal worth £312 million.
PGL was put up for sale in June. HB Education’s management team will remain in post and will now look to expand the business in the UK and overseas.
Peter Kerkar, Cox & Kings group chief executive, said: “We are delighted the education business has found a home with Midlothian as we are certain they will continue to invest and develop the education business.”
Neil Currie, Midlothian partner and chairman-designate of HB Education, added: “HB Education is an industry-leading operator within both the residential outdoor activity and educational travel sectors. PGL is a much-loved brand among teachers and students and has created lasting, happy memories – including many among our own families.
“We are delighted that the existing management team, led by chief executive John Firth and chief finance officer Peter Churchus, have agreed to remain with the company and partner with us.
“They have led HB Education impressively through its most successful growth period and their focus on customer satisfaction and team culture is a key reason for our interest in the group.”