AEA Investors strikes deal for PE-backed Numotion

  • Formed via 2013 merger of LLR’s United Seating & Mobility, Audax’s ATG Rehab
  • Competes with Court Square’s National Seating
  • Sell-side adviser: Harris Williams

In what appears to mark a return to healthcare for AEA Investors, the global PE firm agreed to acquire a controlling interest in Numotion, a provider of customized wheelchairs and other mobility products, Buyouts has learned.

The transaction is expected to close by year-end, a source familiar with the matter said.

The source declined to say whether existing investors Audax Group and LLR Partners are poised to maintain minority equity stakes in the Brentwood, Tennessee, company.

The pending transaction follows a December Buyouts report that Numotion had engaged Harris Williams for a 2018 sales process.

Terms of the transaction are unknown, though two sources pegged Ebitda at around $75 million.

Numotion was formed in 2013 through a merger of equals between LLR’s United Seating & Mobility and Audax’s ATG Rehab. The initial investments for each sponsor date to early 2011.

With more than 140 locations, Numotion is considered the largest U.S. provider of complex rehab technology, or CRT. The company is led by CEO Mike Swinford, a former longtime executive of GE Healthcare.

Perhaps best known for its personalized manual and powered wheelchairs and associated parts, Numotion’s products help adults and children suffering from long-term or permanent mobility loss.

The company also provides mobility devices that require evaluation, fitting, configuration, adjustment and programming.

Numotion this summer bolstered its presence in the Midwest, scooping up the rehab and home access divisions of Total Respiratory & Rehab, and separately, the rehab division of Midwest Respiratory & Rehab.

Other PE-backed CRT providers include Court Square’s National Seating & Mobility and CD&R’s Drive DeVilbiss, both of which sources previously speculated as possible suitors for Numotion.

CRT providers are part of the broader durable-medical-equipment industry, which some investors have viewed as an alternative means to invest behind patients’ increasing preference for home-based care.

For AEA, the acquisition is the firm’s first healthcare-focused deal since April 2010, when it recapitalized Waud Capital’s Hospitalists Management Group. The company shortly thereafter merged with another hospitalist management company, Cogent Healthcare. Fresenius Medical Care’s Sound Physicians ultimately bought the combined platform in November 2014.

Buyouts reported in August that AEA Investors was gearing up to launch its next flagship fund, which could raise up to $5 billion.

The firm’s middle-market PE strategy has focused on investments in companies with enterprise values ranging from $250 million to $2.5 billion.

Its target sectors include specialty chemicals, consumer and retail, and value-added industrial products and services.

Spokespeople with AEA, Audax and Numotion declined comment, while those with LLR and Harris Williams did not immediately return requests for comment.

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