Cressey opens Nashville office

The Thoma Cressey Bravo spin-out moves to expand its presence in US healthcare markets.

Cressey & Company, a healthcare-focused private equity firm based in Chicago, will open a second office in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville boasts more than 350 healthcare companies operating in the city, 21 of which are headquartered there. More than 2,700 doctors work in Nashville's 30 hospitals, medical centers and specialty centers, according to City-Data.com.

The city is also home to the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the largest operator of healthcare facilities in the world that was purchased in a KKR-led $31.6 billion (€21.6 billion) buyout in November 2006. At the time it was the biggest LBO in history after KKR’s 1989 buyout of RJR Nabisco.

Cressey’s existing presence in the Nashville market comes from three of its portfolio companies – CLP Healthcare Services, Essent Healthcare and Haven Behavioral Healthcare – which maintain their corporate headquarters there.

Cressey partners Ralph Davis and Bill Frist – chairman of Cressey’s newly-formed executive board – will work from the Nashville office.

Davis, formerly partner and chairman of the board of directors of law firm Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville, joined Cressey in January. Frist, formerly a Senator for Tennessee and majority leader of the US Senate, joined the firm in November of last year. His family has a long history in the healthcare sector in Nashville, having founded HCA in 1968.

Cressey was formed late last year after the partners of Thoma Cressey Bravo (TCB) split ahead of respective fundraising. Bryan Cressey and Peter Ehrich formed the healthcare-focused Cressey, while Carl Thoma, along with Bravo, Lee Mitchell and Scott Crabill, rebranded as Thoma Bravo and focus on software.

The TCB partners, known for their build-and-buy strategy, continue to work together on existing funds and share administrative resources accordingly.

Thoma and Cressey launched Thoma Cressey in 1997, after the pair split from Golder Thoma Cressey Rauner, which is presently known as GTCR Golder Rauner. Bravo's name was added to the firm last year.