Stagecoach Group has sold the subsidiary that operates and maintains the Metrolink to Ratp Dev UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of the French state-owned Ratp Développement.
Stagecoach Metrolink has a ten-year contract with Transport for Greater Manchester running through to July 2017. The gross assets of Stagecoach Metrolink on 30 April 2011 were £16.2m.
"Metrolink is one of the UK's most successful tram networks," said Paul Natthews, chief executive of RATP Dev UK. "So we are naturally delighted to join with the existing team to be able to bring our expertise and know-how to continue its further development.
"Metrolink is now embarking upon a significant phase of expansion which presents us with plenty of opportunities to assist in producing a world class tramway of which the city can be rightfully proud."
The Manchester tram network currently of four lines, carrying 21m passengers a year. A major programme to deliver new and extended lines is ongoing.
The deal is part of RATP Dev's growing UK business, which already turns over £200m a year. The firm owns London United, Bournemouth Transport and Bath Bus Company. The parent is best known for its Paris Metro operation.
Metrolink will continue to be owned by Transport for Greater Manchester. Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of Transport for Greater Manchester, said: "RATP Group has a span of expertise covering 12 countries and the experience of carrying 12 million passengers a day. They will help us to continue to improve services, providing us with access to experts who are operating tram services and light rail systems in major cities across the world, from Paris and Florence to Seoul, Hong Kong and Mumbai.
"We welcome RATP to Greater Manchester and are looking forward to working with them."
Stagecoach Metrolink employees remain employees of the same legal entity except its name has changed to Metrolink RATP Dev.
Metrolink director, Philip Purdy, added: "I would like to thank Stagecoach for their contribution and commitment to Greater Manchester over the past four years.
"RATP Group is a global name in public transport and passenger services and we will have access to a significant amount of expertise in everything from operations and engineering to passenger service and technology, including smart ticketing."