Partners Group buys Axia Women’s Health for almost $800m

Axia, launched by Audax four years ago, has a vast growth opportunity ahead as various underlying levers fuel the women's healthcare market.

Partners Group is buying a majority stake in Axia Women’s Health, a provider of non-clinical services in the women’s healthcare market, PE Hub has learned. 

The deal, which has not closed, commanded a total enterprise value of just below $800 million, and is set to provide an exit for existing shareholder Audax Private Equity, a source familiar with the matter said. Axia’s management team and physician partners, led by CEO Charlie Choi, will retain a substantial minority equity investment. 

For Audax, the deal concludes a Moelis-run sale process which kicked off earlier this year, sources said previously. As reported in January by PE Hub, the deal’s value aligns with expectations that Axia would command a high teens multiple of its around $40 million of EBITDA. 

Partners, Audax and Moelis declined to comment.

Axia, based in Vorjees, New Jersey, provides non-clinical business administrative services to a women’s health network comprising 80 care centers with 150 locations. Its 400-plus providers support 475,000 patients annually. 

Axia serves an integrated full-continuum of care in women’s health, with its network spanning OB/GYN physicians, breast health centers, high-risk pregnancy centers, laboratories, urogynecology and fertility centers, among other specialties.

The company has grown substantially since its formation by Boston-based Audax in March 2017, driven by both organic efforts and M&A. Axia as of January had inked 16 acquisitions under Audax.

During the PE firm’s about four-year-hold, Axia has expanded beyond its MidAtlantic presence in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, entering states such as Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky through acquisitions.

Axia, with new financial backing from Partners, has a continued opportunity to scale and diversify offerings, leveraging the multiple avenues fueling growth in the women’s healthcare industry.

Sources have characterized women’s health as a long-term play on both primary care, which presents a big opportunity around referrals to other specialties, and value-based models of reimbursement. For example, obstetrics is a very discrete episode of care, presenting an opportunity to share risk and savings with payers, sources said.

At the same time, women’s healthcare remains a large and highly fragmented market where there are real benefits to scale. Whoever buys Axia likely sees opportunity to add density within its existing markets, but also to enter new markets using the same hub-and-spoke approach that has proven successful so far, sources said previously.

For Partners, whose US headquarters are located in Denver, Axia adds to the Swiss private equity firm’s growing portfolio of North American healthcare businesses.

In recent activity, Partners in early April completed its majority acquisition of Wedgewood Pharmacy, valuing the animal health compounding business at approximately $700 million, PE Hub wrote

The firm’s umbrella of healthcare businesses also encompasses EyeCare Partners, Confluent Health, and Blue River PetCare.

Audax, for its part, is also working with Moelis as it evaluates the sale of Gastro Health, its gastroenterology physician practice management platform, PE Hub wrote in February.