Bridgepoints double buy

A consortium including Bridgepoint Capital, Benchmark Capital and Allco Finance acquired CAS Services and MDS International, two clinical decision software support companies. The consortium acquired a 51% stake in CAS from Axa Assistance, while MDS was acquired from a majority owner looking to exit the business.

CAS has been delivering systems and IT support to NHS Direct, a telephone-based nursing advice and health information service in England, since 2000.

It provides similar services to NHS 24 in Scotland and NHS Direct Wales. It has also won recent tenders to provide its software under licence to consortia being established in Greece and Portugal.

“NHS Direct, supported by CAS, has contributed to a more efficient utilisation of existing healthcare resources. This is a model that has applications elsewhere in the world and CAS has first mover advantage,” said Rob Moores, a Bridgepoint partner.

The healthcare sector attracted a high level of private equity investment in Europe last year, with the volume of buyouts rising by almost 2.5x and the total value of European healthcare buyouts almost tripling to €3.3bn.

Bridgepoint’s most recent healthcare investment was made last month, with its €245m acquisition of Attendo, Sweden’s largest elderly care home provider.

It has also backed the €330m buyout of Medica, a French nursing home operator. In the case of CAS and MDS, the acquiring consortium was advised by Travers Smith Braithwaite, Wilkie Farr Gallagher and KPMG. Management was advised by DLA Piper, and Lloyds TSB provided debt financing.