GHO to buy out Ardian’s stake in Envision Pharma

Paris-based Ardian and London-based GHO jointly acquired Envision in July 2016 from the Halifax Group, with the former assuming a majority stake.

GHO Capital has agreed to buy Ardian’s stake in Envision Pharma Group, the tech-enabled medical affairs company the pair of firms jointly purchased about four years ago, according to four sources familiar with the matter. 

The deal, expected to close this fall, values the Horsham, UK, company at $750-million-plus, two of the people said. Sources placed EBITDA at $40 million to $50 million and said the deal panned out to a high teens EBITDA multiple exceeding 15x. 

Mubadala Investment Co, an Abu Dhabi sovereign investor, is co-investing in the deal, two of the people said. 

In May, Bloomberg reported that Envision’s private equity owners were considering a sale that could value the business at more than $500 million, after receiving approaches from suitors. 

While Envision was lining up to go to market, two of the sources said marketing materials were never distributed. Instead, a deal was negotiated between GHO and Ardian, sources said. 

Paris-based Ardian and London-based GHO jointly acquired Envision in July 2016 from the Halifax Group, with the former assuming a majority stake in connection with the transaction, sources said. Halifax, based in Frisco, Texas, said the company grew revenue and EBITDA by 52 percent and 88 percent, respectively. 

GHO, for its part, has ample dry powder to put to work. The firm in November announced the final close of its second fund, GHO Capital Fund II LP, at its hard cap of €975 million ($1.16 billion) – marking the largest specialist private equity fund dedicated to European healthcare at the time. 

Founded in 2001, Envision Pharma provides evidence-based communication services and medical affairs solutions that support a successful access to market strategy for new biopharma compounds. The global company serves more than 75 pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, with 10 offices across the UK, US and Asia Pacific.

Envision joins a slew of activity as of late involving outsourced services to the life sciences industry. 

PE Hub wrote last week that French private equity group ArchiMed has clinched a deal for NAMSA, a privately held provider of medical device services. 

The deal came on the heels of one of pharma services biggest bets of the year: Kohlberg & Co’s $3-billion-plus deal for PCI Pharma Services, PE Hub wrote. Existing investor Partners Group retained a minority investment, while Mubadala also co-invested in the deal. 

Elsewhere, Precision Medical Group, backed by Berkshire Partners and TPG Growth, is up for sale, PE Hub wrote earlier this month. There’s also ProPharma Group, a Linden Capital portfolio company, whose process is in the late phases after relaunching its auction this summer.

Ardian declined to comment. GHO, Envision Pharma and Mubadala didn’t return PE Hub‘s requests for comment.

Action item: Read more about GHO Capital’s second vehicle