Laidlaw, organized as Laidlaw International, Inc. (and with corporate headquarters in Naperville, Illinois), was a predecessor corporation of First Student Inc., a US subsidiary of FirstGroup plc of the United Kingdom. Laidlaw was involved with contract school bus service, intercity passenger route and charter bus service, and contract paratransit and public transit services in the United States and Canada.
In February 2007, FirstGroup plc, a bus and rail transport operator in the United Kingdom with subsidiaries in North America, acquired Laidlaw International, Inc. for $35.25 per share or approximately US$3.6 billion including the assumption of US$0.8 billion of debt. FirstGroup plc completed the acquisition of Laidlaw International on October 1, 2007, and is currently rebranding Laidlaw services under the First umbrella. The deal combined North America’s two largest private school bus operators — Laidlaw Education Services and First Student Inc. — giving them a combined 40% of the school bus contractor market. FirstGroup also announced that the Laidlaw name would not be kept, but that the Greyhound name would be maintained.
Laidlaw had grown primarily through acquisitions of other companies and contracting of services formerly directly provided by government entities. At the time of its acquisition by FirstGroup in 2007, Laidlaw was the largest provider of intercity bus services, contract public transit and paratransit, and contract school bus service in both the United States and Canada.