KKR joins Triton in €850m Nordic healthcare deal

Triton invited KKR to take part in the acquisition of healthcare platform Ambea from 3i.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is joining German- and Nordic-focused private equity firm Triton in its €850 million acquisition of Nordic healthcare platform Ambea, one of the largest healthcare service providers in Europe.

Triton agreed to buy Ambea from 3i in February, using cash and assuming debt. The acquisition price will generate a 3.5x return on equity for 3i.

Triton invited KKR to join the deal, a person with knowledge of the transaction told PEO.

KKR has the option to become a joint equity lead investor on a 50/50 basis with Triton and in partnership with Ambea management, the company said in a statement. The joint deal closed Wednesday, and KKR’s initial investment will be in the form of convertible preferred stock. KKR can convert the stock into common shares pending regulatory approvals.

3i created Ambea by buying Swedish clinical and pharmaceutical healthcare services provider Carema in 2005 for an undisclosed amount. The firm then acquired more than two dozen add-ons to the platform, including private healthcare provider Mehilainen, based in Finland. The company was renamed Ambea.

Triton chose KKR to partner in the deal because of “their global expertise in healthcare and shared long-term strategic goals for Ambea”, Magnus Lindquist, a partner at Triton, said in a statement. The firms have another connection as well – Johannes Huth, who manages KKR's European operations, is the brother of Martin Huth, a managing director at Triton. A source told PEO the familial connection had nothing to do with the partnership.

KKR will make the investment from its third European fund, which closed on €4.7 billion in 2008, well below its €6 billion target. The fund is supplemented by an annex fund the raised last year that will be used to make capital infusions into existing portfolio companies in the second European fund, and add-on investments in the third European fund.

The third European fund is only about 3 percent invested, a source told PEO.

KKR doesn’t usually partner with other firms on deal, but did join General Atlantic in November for the $1.65 billion acquisition of TASC, a division of publicly traded defense contractor Northrop Grumman.