First Round: Time off from time off

Ah, the festive holidays. Such a relaxing time. Three weeks of pizza-fuelled late night desk sessions struggling to plough through mounds of end-of-year paperwork combined with angst-ridden shopping trips in an attempt to buy all 27 relatives’ gifts in one store and overly-merry workplace gatherings sharing microwaved mulled wine around the photocopier, followed by a sweaty Christmas Eve train journey, four days of grilling by your in-laws and sleepless nights courtesy of your quite-cute-in-pictures-but-hellish-in-real-life nephews and nieces.

Phew. Time to book another holiday.

No sooner had First Round uttered its pitiful plea for post-Yuletide rehabilitation as it sobbed into its decaf, non-fat no-foam (no-FUN) January detox latte than the answer pinged into its overstuffed inbox.

US behavioural healthcare services specialist Acadia Healthcare has bought Priory Group, best known for its eponymous London hospital where celebrities go to overcome addictions and depression, from Advent International in a $2.2 billion deal.

Acadia is clearly confident in what its chairman and CEO called the “favourable industry dynamics” in the UK – aka increasing downward pressure on government funding – having already dipped a toe into the pond through the acquisition of Priory rival Partnerships in Care 18 months ago.

The healthcare group has now acquired Priory’s 300 UK facilities, including its hospital in Roehampton, south-west London, whose rooms have been occupied by the likes of Kate Moss, Ronnie Wood and Eric Clapton. First Round should fit right in.

In fact, First Round wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were to bump into any number of strung-out private equity execs in the hospital’s hallowed halls. Chances are they checked in hoping to play a few surreptitious sets at the magnificent UK National Tennis centre next door.

Either that or they’re hoping to convince the jaded rich and famous that the true path to rehabilitation is to invest in their latest lower mid-market operationally-focused private equity fund. After all, what’s more reassuring and therapeutic than watching your money grow?