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Allergy Partners hits the block; may be test of PE interest in field

Physician-owned Allergy Partners is on the auction block, according to four sources.

The company, considered the largest U.S. allergy and asthma practice group, has turned to Wells Fargo for financial advice, the sources said.

Allergy Partners generates EBITDA in the low $20 million range and ought to command a double-digit multiple should the process produce a sale, two sources said. That suggests a valuation well past $200 million.

The process for Allergy Partners is viewed as something of a test case, as the allergy-testing and services market has seen minimal activity. With a couple additional allergy-care providers said to be weighing potential transactions, Allergy Partners — the dominant U.S. player — would likely serve as a bellwether for future deal making.

Another PE-backed allergy-care provider is San Antonio’s United Allergy Services. San Francisco’s Serent Capital in April 2012 announced an investment in UAS. The size of the stake wasn’t disclosed, but the deal was valued at more than $50 million, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

Allergy Partners, Asheville, North Carolina, describes itself as the nation’s largest single-specialty practice focused on allergic disease, asthma and immunology.

Its network encompasses 56 primary practice locations across 23 states, with more than 132 total locations of care, a November news release said. Allergy Partners employs 132 full- and part-time allergists and immunologists, 27 mid-level providers and more than 1,000 practice employees.

The company is led by CEO David Brown, who co-founded Allergy Partners alongside J. Spencer Atawater Jr more than 25 years ago.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman declined to comment, while an Allergy Partners representative did not immediately return a request for comment.

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