EDDIE Stobart is to have new owners at the wheel after Britain's best known trucking business was sold to investors in a deal worth £280m.

The business, which employs about 5,000 people and operates 2,300 vehicles, will be led by the founders youngest son William Stobart.

Stobart Group, which is retaining a 49 per cent stake in the truck company as well as the rights to the Eddie Stobart name, said the sale will enable it to almost wipe out debt and focus on its operations in the energy, air and rail markets.

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Members of the investment group behind the takeover have previous experience of the sector through their former ownership of UK logistics firm TDG. It was sold to Norbert Dentressangle in 2010.

Stobart will receive £195.6m for the Eddie Stobart operation, as well shares worth £44.1m in the new venture.

The Eddie Stobart business, which was the subject of a television series on Channel 5, counts Tesco among its major customers.

Stobart will use some of the proceeds to invest in waste wood and anaerobic digestion electricity generating plants through a new green energy business.