One Rock invests $500m in landscaping biz, and FFL closes clinical research site deal

Commercial landscaping services firm BrightView snags $500 million from One Rock.

Good morning, dealmakers. MK Flynn here with today’s Wire.

As the summer winds down, not everyone is on vacation.

Several deals were announced this morning, demonstrating that at least some dealmakers are still hard at work.

Two transactions caught my attention.

The folks at One Rock announced an interesting mid-market deal.

And the team at FFL Partners closed a previously announced transaction.

Let’s get right to those deals.

Transformative growth
One Rock Capital Partners has made a $500 million strategic investment in commercial landscaping services provider BrightView Holdings in the form of convertible preferred stock.

BrightView, based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, also announced that Dale Asplund will serve as president and CEO, effective October 1.

Asplund is a seasoned executive who brings 25 years of operational, service provider, and publicly traded company experience from companies including United Rentals, where he served most recently as EVP and COO. Asplund succeeds interim president and CEO Jim Abrahamson, who has served as a BrightView independent director since 2015 and remains as a member of the board.

BrightView said it will use 90 percent of the new investment to pay down debt, helping to significantly de-lever the company’s balance sheet to 3.1x net debt to LTM Adjusted EBITDA and position it for “transformative growth” under the new leadership.

Remaining funds from the new investment, coupled with increased free cash flow due to lower interest expense, are expected to provide BrightView with the flexibility to pursue acquisitions of complementary landscape businesses and other accretive initiatives.

One Rock has extensive experience in the sector. For example, the New York PE firm sold Monarch Landscape Companies to Audax Private Equity last year.

“We expect that our prior experience providing strategic and hands-on operational improvements to the businesses we’ve owned in the business and environmental services sectors will be additive to BrightView’s and Dale’s vision to generate returns for shareholders,” Joshua Goldman, partner at One Rock, said.

Clinical trials
FFL Partners, which invests in healthcare and tech-enabled services businesses, has completed an investment in Johnson County Clin-Trials. Known as JCCT, is a clinical research site platform serving pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and contract research organizations.

“JCCT has consistently demonstrated its prowess in executing clinical trials for sponsors,” said Karen Winterhof, partner at FFL. “The founders have cultivated a business that not only achieves, but consistently exceeds patient enrollment targets, effectively addressing a major pain point within clinical trials.”

Winterhof said FFL expects to help “propel JCCT into a position of leadership within this fragmented sector,” referring to the clinical research site sector.

Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, JCCT specializes in Phase I – IV clinical trials, encompassing both healthy volunteers and special populations. Since its inception in 2005, the company said it has successfully concluded approximately 300 clinical trials, engaging over 15,000 study participants.

Recommended reading
Before I sign off, I want to mention two recent interviews we did with perspectives on dealmaking in the second half of the year.

Check out my Q&A with Martin Brand, who serves as head of North America private equity and global co-head of technology investing for Blackstone.

“High-quality assets will find a buyer,” Brand told me.

And take a look at my interview with Anne Philpott, a managing director on the private equity and junior capital team at Churchill Asset Management.

Philpott shares the three factors shared by businesses that can succeed in any economy.

That’s all for today. Craig McGlashan will be back with more tomorrow.

Happy dealmaking,