GHO Capital buys ClearView Healthcare Partners in continued North America push

The global strategy consulting firm for the life sciences industry commands a more than $700m valuation, concluding a Houlihan Lokey-conducted sale process.

GHO Capital, which just amassed the largest-ever healthcare-exclusive PE fund in Europe as it puts feet on the ground in the US, has agreed to acquire ClearView Healthcare Partners, according to four sources familiar with the matter. 

The transaction, signed in July, concludes a Houlihan Lokey-run sale process for the life sciences-focused consulting business. First round bids were due in early May, with some 10 parties accepted into the second round, PE hub previously wrote. 

GHO’s latest pharma services bet is valued at about 17x ClearView’s marketed EBITDA of $43 million, some of the people said. That suggests 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, in addition to one outlier at some $750 million, sources previously said. 

ClearView’s previous investor is RLH Equity Partners. However, its management team currently owns a big chunk of the company and was interested in rolling equity, one source previously said. 

Founded in Boston in 2007, ClearView can be likened to a global strategy consulting firm such as McKinsey & Co or LEK Consulting, but exclusively for the life sciences industry. Its consultants help pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostics companies worldwide build robust strategies through project-based engagements. 

ClearView in the past couple weeks revealed plans to strengthen its partnerships with European and global life sciences organizations. The firm is expanding into Europe with the opening of two new offices in London and Zurich, joining existing teams operating out of Boston, New York and San Francisco. 

GHO, a European-based specialist in healthcare, is all the while pushing deeper into North America. 

The London firm’s third vehicle recently closed on more than €2 billion ($2.4 billion) of capital available to invest – far exceeding its €1.25 billion target while reaping in more than double that of its predecessor fund, affiliate Private Equity International wrote in June. Fund III is the biggest Europe-headquartered healthcare fund in history, knocking out ArchiMed’s MED Platform I, which collected €1 billion in August last year, PEI wrote. 

GHO, in a recent announcement that confirmed the PEI report, additionally revealed the opening of a US office in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The new office and recent new hires are intended to support its network of North American portfolio companies as well as accelerate growth opportunities for its European businesses into North American markets, the announcement said.

Its physical expansion into North America comes as little surprise, as GHO has been an aggressive buyer of US-based healthcare companies as of late.

The firm in May snapped up NaviMed Capital’s Velocity Clinical Research in a deal valued around $500 million, PE Hub wrote. Velocity, based in Durham, North Carolina, is a clinical site organization that played a major role in conducting trials for all pharmaceutical companies included in Operation Warp Speed, plus Pfizer. In July, Velocity announced the acquisition of two new sites to its US network.

In other notable activity, existing portfolio company Envision Pharma Group in December acquired Two Labs. 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 services, subsequently bought Riparian in July. 

GHO earlier in 2020 boosted its stake in Envision, buying out Ardian’s stake in Envision with a co-investment from Mubadala Investment Co, an Abu Dhabi sovereign investor, PE Hub reported in September. 

Also last year, GHO bought X-Chem, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based business, from Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman. X-Chem states that it is the industry-leading provider of DNA-Encoded Library-based discovery services.

GHO and Houlihan declined to comment, while RLH and ClearView did not return requests for comment.