BC Partners buys General Healthcare from Cinven

The UK’s largest private hospital provider, General Healthcare Group, changed hands at the beginning of September in a GBP1.28 million secondary buyout. On the sell side was Cinven, which acquired Compass Group’s hospital interests for GBP179 million in 1995 and two years later merged them with General Healthcare, acquired for GBP580 million in the groundbreaking GBP1.1 billion buyout of Compagnie Generale de Sante.

On the buy side this time is BC Partners, which in 1997 lost out to Cinven in the hotly contested auction for Compagnie Generale de Sante. This is BC Partners’ first deal since the July announcement of the s3.5 billion closing of its seventh fund, a record for a European private equity fund.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter arranged a debt package for the secondary buyout. NM Rothschild, Cinven’s adviser on the buyout of Compagnie Generale de Sante, also advised on the General Healthcare disposal.

Cinven director Simon Rowlands comments: “Having held this investment for five years and seen our strategic objective to create the UK market leader in private healthcare achieved, we were considering our options to capitalise on the value created when we received an offer from BC Partners. This offer represents an excellent return for our investors”.

Speaking for BC Partners, managing partner Simon Palley said the firm had watched General Healthcare’s development closely during the past three years. “We share the view of General Healthcare’s management and staff that there is an opportunity to create significant further value through continued development of the group, including expanding the acute care hospital network and the development of new partnerships with the NHS (National Health Service)”.