US PRIVATE equity firm Bain Capital is the front-runner for the near £1bn deal for mental health specialist the Priory Group.
Bain has not yet entered exclusive talks with the owners of the Priory, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), but is expected to do so within the coming days.
The Priory operates more than 50 hospitals, schools and care homes in Britain and is best known for treating celebrities.
RBS, majority owned by the government, is seeking just £1bn for the business, as part of its sale of non-core assets to boost its balance sheet.
Bain will meet several banks this week to line up debt financing for the deal, potentially of up to £600m. JP?Morgan is expected to be involved in raising the finance.
Other bidders for the Priory included Blackstone, Advent International and Cinven.
City A.M. Reporter