Carlyle Tests Appetite For £1bn Dental Chain
Britain's biggest privately-owned dental chain is heading for a sale or stock market flotation that could value it at a mouth-watering £1bn.
Sky News has learnt that the owner of Integrated Dental Holdings (IDH) has asked investment banks to pitch for a role advising it on a deal later this year.
IDH, which has a network of 570 dental practices in England, Scotland and Wales, is majority-owned by The Carlyle Group, one of the world's biggest private equity investors.
IDH calls itself the biggest dental corporate organisation in Europe, focusing primarily on NHS patients but with private and specialist practices as an increasingly important revenue stream.
According to bondholder filings for the final three months of 2013, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the financial year to date rose by 21% to £48.7m.
The company was founded in 1996 by Luke Johnson, the entrepreneur who previously owned Pizza Express and who is floating Patisserie Valerie on the London Stock Exchange.
Mr Johnson and his partners sold IDH in 2006 for just over £100m, with the private equity arm of Merrill Lynch among its subsequent owners.
The company was created in its current form from the amalgamation of IDH and Associated Dental Practices in 2011, and now treats millions of patients each year.
IDH's biggest rival, Oasis Dental Care, is also owned by private equity funds having been bought by Bridgepoint last year in a deal worth £185m.
Carlyle is examining exits for a number of its investments, including the RAC breakdown recovery service, as Sky News reported earlier this month.
The buyout firm declined to comment.