BC Partners Picking Banks for Medica IPO

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity firm BC Partners is poised to pick banks to prepare a flotation of Medica, the French care-home company, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

BC Partners, whose 2006 buyout valued Medica at 750 million euros ($1.11 billion), invited pitches from ten or more banks at the start of September, one of the people said.

The move by BC highlights the eagerness of European buyout houses to take their stronger portfolio companies public as stock markets rally. 

BC declined to comment.

Medica operates nursing, psychiatric and post-operative care homes in France and Italy. It had turnover of 387 million euros in 2007, according to its website.

A Paris stock-market listing, which is probably months away, would rank Medica alongside listed competitors such as Orpea SA (ORP.PA) and Korian SA (KORI.PA).

Medica’s previous owner, rival buyout house Bridgepoint [BRDG.UL], had planned an initial public offering (IPO) for the company in 2006, but turbulent markets prompted it to sell Medica to BC instead.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) arranged the debt backing BC’s acquisition, while AXA Private Equity (AXAF.PA) took a minority stake in the company.

People familiar with the matter said in July that Morgan Stanley and UBS were preparing to float Unity Media, Germany’s no. 2 cable operator, which is owned by BC and Apollo Management LP [APOLO.UL]. However, Unity said it had no current plans for a float.($1=.6777 Euro)

(Reporting by Quentin Webb; editing by Simon Jessop)