Private equity firm BC Partners sold a 9.5% stake in elder and dependent care company Medica to French real estate and healthcare investment company Batipart, Reuters reported. The deal was valued at 72.5 million euros ($102 million).
(Reuters) – French holding company Batipart has bought a 9.5 percent stake in Medica for 72.5 million euros ($102 million), to expand in the fast-growing elderly and dependent care market.
Batipart, a real estate and healthcare investment company, bought the Medica stake from private equity firm BC Partners.
The deal pushed Medica shares up more than 3 percent as it prompted speculation of a merger between Medica and care market group Korian , in which Batipart owns 23.6 percent.
“This announcement should relaunch the speculation of a merger between Medica and Korian — Predica and Batipart are now common shareholders — even if synergies between these big operators seem limited,” said a Paris-based trader.
Predica, part of French bank Credit Agricole , has a 31 percent stake in Korian and a 11.3 percent stake in Medica.
“By taking a stake in Medica … Batipart reinforces its position in an area which it knows well and in which it aims to develop on a European scale to respond to the challenges of a greying population,” Batipart said in a statement.
Medica has estimated that the elderly population is growing faster than the number of beds available and that the aging population means it is more difficult for families to care for elderly relatives at home.
A sector analyst who declined to be named said: “The two large Korian shareholders are becoming very important Medica shareholders. This increases the likelihood of a link-up between the two.”
He added, however, this would not happen imminently as “they would have done it already”.
Medica, with operations in France and Italy, had sales of 539 million euros and net profit of 23.2 million euros last year. It had 13,185 beds last year.
Batipart bought Medica shares at 16 euros each. The stock rose to as high as 15.31 euros and was up 3.03 percent at 15.30 euros by 0748 GMT.
(Reporting by Caroline Jacobs, additional reporting by Blaise Robinson, Juliette Rouillon. Editing by Jane Merriman)