CD&R nears deal to buy wheelchair maker Drive DeVilbiss: Reuters

(Reuters) — Buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC is in advanced talks to acquire Drive DeVilbiss, one of the largest U.S. wheelchair manufacturers, for about $750 million, including the assumption of debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal would represent CD&R’s latest bet on the home care market, as longer life expectancy fuels demand for durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, power scooters and other mobility and bariatric products.

CD&R has prevailed in an auction for privately held Drive DeVilbiss and could strike a deal in the coming days, the sources said on Wednesday. They cautioned that the negotiations could still fall apart at the last minute.

Drive DeVilbiss’ top executives plan to join CD&R as minority investors in the deal, one of the sources said.
The sources requested anonymity because the negotiations are confidential. CD&R declined to comment, while a Drive DeVilbiss spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Based in Port Washington, New York, Drive DeVilbiss is one of the fastest-growing manufacturers and distributors of durable medical equipment, according to its website. It has distribution facilities around the world.

The company has completed more than half a dozen acquisitions since 2011. In 2015, Drive DeVilbiss, at the time dubbed Drive Medical, acquired DeVilbiss Healthcare, which focused on products that aid breathing and sleep.

Founded in 2000, Drive DeVilbiss is partly owned by private equity firm Ferrer, Freeman & Co LLC.

CD&R has earned about five times its invested capital in healthcare investments that include VWR International, which supplies products and services to medical laboratories; Envision Healthcare, which provides outsourced medical services; and PharMEDium, a sterile compounding services company.

CD&R’s previous investments in the home care sector include AssuraMed, a supplier of disposable medical products to chronic-disease patients. It sold that company to Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N) in 2013 for $2.1 billion.
(Reporting by Carl O’Donnell and Greg Roumeliotis in New York)