Bridgepoint acquires Oasis Healthcare

The London-based firm has bought the UK’s largest dentistry specialist from ailing buyout group Duke Street, in a transaction valuing the business at £185m.

London-headquartered Bridgepoint has acquired Oasis Healthcare, the UK’s largest private dental provider, for £185 million (€218 million, $280 million).

Oasis’ former owner was fellow British firm Duke Street, which took the company private in 2007. It was previously listed on the London stock exchange. Duke Street is to roll over part of the proceeds generated by the sale in a minority stake of the business. 

Founded in 1996, Oasis operates more than 200 dental practices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It offers both National Health Service and private services, ranging from general consultations to orthodontic and specialist treatments. 

Oasis had been bought at an attractive valuation, a source with knowledge of the deal said. “The entry multiple is less than nine times, when precedent transactions have largely treated it at over 10 times.”

Oasis was an attractive business owing to the strong, long-term underlying growth trends supporting the sector, Bridgepoint explained in a statement. The UK dental care market – estimated to be worth around £7 billion – benefits from favourable demographic trends, increasing demand from an image-conscious population, and resilient public spending. 

“Dentistry is a pretty high profile public service; it’s something the government is spending money on. People are also becoming more image-aware, and so will be looking at dentistry not just for remedial purposes but also for image purposes as well,” people close to the matters commented. 

Prior to the acquisition, the business was constrained in its expansion by the lack of available funds, according to a source. With the capital now being injected by the firm, there was potential to look for acquisition targets and carry out a buy-and-build strategy, the source said. Bridgepoint is seeing potential for consolidation in the sector, which it sees as highly fragmented.

The acquisition will be funded by the firm’s Europe Fund IV, now close to 80 percent invested. The vehicle, a 2008 vintage, reached its final close on €4.84 billion.