Article

COVID-19 highlights investment value of healthcare

Peter Jennings Peter Jennings

Despite 2020 proving to be a rollercoaster year for healthcare, the sector has risen to the operational challenges it faced. Social care, in particular, is finally getting some of the recognition it rightly deserves.

There's been a high level of activity among investors, which includes trade, private equity, infrastructure funds and property funds.

A snapshot of our healthcare deals in 2020

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Discover our key successes in the sector

Looking to future M&A

Specialist care

Specialist care has seen significant investor activity in 2020, and we anticipate this will continue at pace in 2021. We've seen several assets come to market and successfully secure new owners, including Exemplar Health Care, which was acquired by Ares Management in November.

Also in November, we advised Cream Care in obtaining investment from a specialist property fund, and Holmleigh Care was acquired by infrastructure fund Ancala Partners in April.

2021 promises more of the same, as several private equity-backed specialist care assets that came to the market at the end of 2020 are likely to complete in the first half of 2021, including:

  • Elysium Healthcare (BC Partners)
  • Sandcastle Care (Waterland Private Equity Investments)

Home care

Home care is another healthcare sub-sector that came through 2020 stronger than ever, with the COVID-19 situation re-enforcing the desire of many to be cared for away from a large-scale residential setting.

Several deals were completed in 2020, despite the pressure that coronavirus put on operators and the increased complexity of transacting during lockdown.

In March, we advised Saga PLC on the disposal of two of its home care introductory agencies Patricia White’s and Country Cousins to Limerston Capital. Then, in June, Westbridge Capital acquired Bespoke Health and Social Care and Onex Corp acquired ICS, which has since rebranded to Acacium Group.

City & County were also active, acquiring Total Community Care (TCC) in September, which provides complex care for spinal injuries and neurological disorders. We then saw C&C acquire Interserve’s complex care businesses Advantage Healthcare and Stand Nursing in December. The firm ushered in the New Year with the announcement that Summit Partners were to acquire the business from Graphite Capital.

Much like specialist care, this level of activity is set to continue into 2021, with a number of home care assets due to come to market. Those already announced include Montreux Capital Management’s Active Care Group and August Equity’s Berkeley Home Health.

Elderly care

We anticipate that elderly care operators will experience recovery in 2021, despite the challenge of the last 12 months. Occupancy levels will recover, and infrastructure and property funds, in particular, will look to invest in asset-rich opportunities. Four Seasons Healthcare is due to be the next big elderly care deal in the offing, as administrators put it back on the market.

Pharma services

Pharma services is also a market that will see increased activity in 2021, with a number of processes already in train, and more due to come to the market as private equity, in particular, consolidates its presence in this dynamic sub-sector.

In 2020, healthcare (like many other sectors) faced its biggest challenge yet. Despite this, it has emerged with a higher profile and considerable investor interest, which is set to further consolidate in 2021.

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Our key successes in the sector

December 2020

Linnaeus Veterinary Limited

Acquistion of Pets at Home Veterinary Specialist Group Limited

Veterinary services

December 2020

Bourn Bioscience Limited

Sale to Triangle Capital Corporation

Healthcare

November 2020

Cream Care Group Limited

Investment by a specialist property fund

Specialist care provider

November 2020

Four Seasons Healthcare Group

Disposal of 11 care services run by The Huntercombe Group to Montreux Capital Management

Specialist healthcare

June 2020

Frontier Medical Group Limited

Disposal of the Infection Prevention division of Frontier Medical Group Limited to Vernacare Limited.

Medical supplies

July 2020

Holmes Care Group

Disposal by Impact Healthcare REIT plc

Elderly care

June 2020

August Equity LLP

Acquisition of Oracle Care & Education, backed by Esland Care

Provider of supported residential care for young persons

March 2020

Saga plc

MBO backed by Limerston Capital of Saga plc's in-home care services

Provider of in-home care services

March 2021

Envision Pharma Group Limited

Acquisition of 90TEN Limited

Pharmaceuticals

January 2021

Aedifica UK Limited

Acquisition of a portfolio of five purpose-built care homes

Healthcare real estate