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MidOcean preps sale of The Planet Group

William Blair is engaged to advise the professional staffing and consulting firm with a large focus in life sciences.

Three years into its investment, MidOcean Partners is preparing for a sale of The Planet Group, a staffing agency for the life sciences industry and other highly skilled markets, PE Hub has learned. 

William Blair has been engaged for sell-side financial advice, four sources familiar with the firm’s plan said. 

Led by founder and CEO Michael Stomberg, The Planet Group is fast approaching $500 million in revenue, according to its website. Sources said the company generates more than $50 million in EBITDA. 

While still early, some sources expect the process could produce a double-digit EBITDA multiple into the low teens. 

Founded in 2009, The Planet Group provides outsourced human capital for highly skilled positions to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, as well as engineers, project managers and project controls professionals to the utility, manufacturing, oil & gas, power engineering and technology sectors. It also operates niche consulting services within those arenas. 

Half or more of the company is focused on the healthcare market, and interestingly, it also operates a contract research organization within its life sciences division, sources said. 

The Planet Group has grown in part through M&A since MidOcean in January 2018 made a majority investment. 

The company struck a deal in November to buy NDA Partners, a global life sciences management consulting and contract development organization. In November 2019, Planet acquired staffing provider WinterWyman. 

Among the most comparable companies is ALKU, sources said, which in July 2019 scored an investment from San Francisco’s FFL Partners. ALKU similarly focuses on high-end staffing services and includes a large life sciences division. 

MidOcean, meanwhile, has a long history of backing outsourced human capital businesses.

The New York based middle market firm in 2016 sold professional staffing firm System One to Thomas H Lee Partners, and in 2014, exited its investment in Global Knowledge, selling the provider of IT training to corporate clients to Rhône Capital

MidOcean and William Blair declined to comment. Company executives could not immediately be reached.