Ares to buy The Lockwood Group at mid-$300m value

Houlihan Lokey advises the Stamford, Connecticut-based medical communications business on its pending sale.

Ares Management agreed to buy The Lockwood Group, marking the latest medical communications company to attract private equity capital, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

The deal, which one of the people said was signed in early September, is valued at close to 21x the asset’s projected 2021 EBITDA of $17 million, the people said. That implies a deal valued at roughly $360 million. 

Houlihan Lokey advised Lockwood on the transaction.

Lockwood, based in Stamford, Connecticut, comprises multiple agencies specializing in medical communications. It collaborates with clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries to identify effective, holistic, science-based strategies to address their objectives through medical communications. The company boasts that more than a third of its staff hold advanced scientific or medical degrees.

In relevant deal activity, Houlihan Lokey this summer sold life sciences-focused consulting business ClearView Healthcare Partners to GHO Capital, a European-based specialist in healthcare. Ares also was around that process, along with several other PE shops that participated, sources said. 

GHO’s deal for ClearView was valued at about 17x its marketed EBITDA of $43 million, sources told PE Hub at the time. That implied a deal valued around the ballpark of $730 million – north of the $600 million to $700 million range that participants largely bid to enter the second round. 

Separately, GHO portfolio company Envision Pharma Group in December acquired Two Labs in a deal valued at around $280 million. Two Labs, which helps pharma businesses develop and execute customized launch strategies for products, as well as gain access to new business avenues and geographies for its existing service.  

For Los Angeles-based Ares, Lockwood joins a North American healthcare portfolio that today comprises Aspen Dental, CHG Healthcare Services, DuPage Medical Group, OB Hospitalist, Press Ganey and Unified Women’s Health. 

Ares and Houlihan declined to comment. Lockwood did not immediately return PE Hub’s request for comment.