Trimountain Partners and Ashridge Capital, in partnership with management and certain investors led by Downing LLP, have completed the management buyout of RED Driving School (“RED” or the “Company”), the largest driving school and driving instructor training school in the UK, for an undisclosed amount.

The transaction was secured and led by Trimountain Partners. As part of the deal, Trimountain Partners will partner with Ashridge Capital, who will jointly manage the investment. The Company was previously backed by Kelso Place Asset Management (“KPAM”), a UK based private equity firm.

With close to 1,500 driving instructors, RED operates throughout England, Scotland and Wales with significant market presence and visibility in the driving school industry. The Company is headquartered in Billingham, County Durham and has won numerous awards, most recently the 2018 First Car National Driving School of the Year and 2019 Gold Trusted Service award by Feefo.

The management team is led by CEO Ian McIntosh, who joined RED in 2012, having previously held senior positions with AAK plc (as President of the $1B+ in sales West Division overseeing sales in the UK, US and Mexico), Northern Foods plc and Mars Incorporated.

Ian McIntosh commented “Following a tremendously successful journey with Kelso Place Asset Management, we are excited to now be backed by Trimountain and Ashridge as we move to further consolidate our market-leading position.

Ali Khanbhai, Partner and Co-Founder of Trimountain Partners commented “RED is typical of the businesses we want to back. The Company has a strong market position and a great brand in an attractive market, and is led by a management team whom we believe punch significantly above the weight of what one might expect for a company of this size. We very much look forward to working closely with Ian and the team going forward.”

David Sherratt, founder and CEO of Ashridge Capital commented: “We are delighted to back such an experienced and proven management team with a market leading position in an attractive sector, with solid fundamentals and the opportunity for strong organic growth.”
Sion Kearsey, Managing Partner of KPAM, added “We are happy that under our ownership RED Driving School developed into a growing, profitable and cash-generative business. Ian and his team have done a fantastic job and we are confident that under their continued stewardship and new backing that the business will continue to perform strongly. We wish them well for the next stage of the Company’s development.”.

As part of the transaction, RED and KPAM were advised on the sell-side by Grant Thornton and Shoosmiths. Trimountain Partners were advised on the buy-side by Mishcon de Reya, Grant Thornton, Rees Pollock and Aon.