A group of family offices and impact investors called Mandarinfish Holding, agreed to acquire California-based Professional Association of Diving Instructors known as PADI, the world’s leading scuba diver training organization, from Rhode Island-based private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, for more than $700 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

PADI was founded near Chicago in 1966 by the late scuba equipment salesman John Cronin, and late educator and swimming instructor Ralph Erickson. They felt that the scuba certification agencies that existed at the time were unprofessional, didn’t use state-of-the-art instruction, and made it unnecessarily difficult for people to enter the sport. PADI diver courses and scuba diving services can now be found in more than 183 countries and territories.

PADI Worldwide has grown over the course of five decades to become international in scope with service offices and distribution centers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. With more than 6,400 PADI dive centers and resorts, and more than 133,000 individual PADI professionals who have issued more than 25 million certifications around the world,

Providence, which bought a majority stake in PADI from private equity firm Lincolnshire Management in 2015, has focused on expanding the company in Asia, including in Indonesia and Malaysia, according to Bloomberg.

Deutsche Bank AG reportedly acted as financial advisor to Providence in the deal.

Providence has $50 billion in assets under management across complementary private equity and credit businesses. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, the firm has invested in over 160 companies and become a leading equity investment firm focused on media, communications, education and information sectors. The firm is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Delhi.



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