ECI makes healthcare take-private bid

Fresh from the close of its £430m fund, UK private equity firm ECI has partnered with Yorkshire Bank to fund a management buyout of healthcare IT business Ascribe.

UK private equity firm ECI has offered to take private healthcare technology firm Ascribe in a deal that values the company at £33.3 million (€42 million; $54 million).

The 28 pence per share offer represents a 5.6 percent premium over the company’s share price on 14 July, when the offer was clarified to the company’s independent directors.

The offer will be funded by Ascribe’s management team, ECI and Yorkshire Bank, though no specific financial details or terms were disclosed.

“This agreement shows that, even in an uncertain economic environment, mid-market private equity investors with a proven track record and strong lender relationships can continue to finance investments in high quality business,” David Ewing, director of ECI, said in a statement.

Ascribe services more than 50 percent of UK hospitals. Last year it recorded a £17.4 million turnover and pre-tax profits of £2.9 million. It was floated on London’s AIM in 2004 at a price of 18 pence per share.

Last week ECI closed its ninth private equity fund on £430 million. Steve Tudge, managing director of ECI, said that the firm would increasingly look to the public markets for deal flow.

ECI manages £880 million, specialising in buyouts and buy-ins that range from £10 million to £150 million.