Duke Street buys into healthcare

The private equity firm has continued its recent spate of activity with the acquisition of Thornbury Nursing Services, a UK nursing agency.

Duke Street Capital (DSC), the pan-European fund management group, has backed a management buyout of Thornbury Nursing Services, a UK provider of independent nursing services, from the group's founders.

Duke Street has agreed to pay a reported £54m for the business, which supplies specialist nurses for temporary cover into the public and private healthcare sectors. Duke Street is currently in the process of recruiting a new CEO for the business.

Barclays Leveraged Finance underwrote and arranged the senior debt financing for the transaction and Intermediate Capital Group was the arranger and sole underwriter of a £10m mezzanine facility.

Duke Street director Julian Brock said the firm’s aim was to increase its involvement in the healthcare sector, reflecting a broader UK interest in the sector which has seen private equity investments top £1bn in 2002. He said the firm would provide 'active support to [Thornbury] in its aim to grow, both organically and through acquisition.”

The deal is the third completed by Duke Street in the past three weeks, capping a busy summer period for the London headquartered firm. Following on from its £145m acquisition of Esporta in June, Duke Street acquired Invicta Leisure from Elektra Investment Trust for £140m at the beginning of September. More recently it backed the £23m acquisition of specialist winemaker Les Chais Beaucairois as part of a buy-and-build strategy for French portfolio business Marie Brizard.