The sale of PADI may have come as a surprise to most but this is not something new. Back in 2012, The New York firm Lincolnshire Management acquired this training organization with primary plans to rapidly expand to Asia among others.
Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the most popular scuba training organization today was founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson with the aim of improving standards and widening access to scuba diving through accredited courses. PADI as a training organization has issued over 25 Million certifications since its inception over 50 years ago.
In 2015, Providence Equity Partners acquired majority stake of PADI from Lincolnshire Management. Nobody really cared much about who really owns the training organization until the initial talks of Providence selling PADI at a valuation of $1 Billion dollars came out last November 2016. This week the acquisition of PADI through Mandarinfish Holding was finally announced publicly. PADI was acquired for more than $700 Million. The new owners of PADI includes wealthy families, philanthropists and endowments.
PADI’s ownership has changed hands a few times in the past and it will continue to be perceived as an important investment of any big equity firm’s portfolio. PADI, like any other great business, will continue to operate as it is primarily intended to do regardless of who owns it.
On a related note, Scuba Schools International (SSI) was acquired by Mares / Head, a leading scuba dive equipment manufacturer way back in January 2014. Since then, SSI continued to focus on its improvement as a training agency while Mares continued to improve its equipment manufacturing business.
How does the sale of PADI really impacts you and me?