Pret A Manger owner takes a different bite with dentist buy

Michael Bow
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PRET A Manger owner Bridgepoint bagged itself a bargain yesterday after snapping up one of the UK’s largest private dental providers Oasis Healthcare in a deal valuing the business at £185m.

Private equity group Bridgepoint, which bought popular sandwich chain Pret in 2008 for €500m (£422m), has added the 200-surgery dental outfit to its roster after buying the firm from fellow private equity group Duke Street.

Oasis, which was listed in London until it was taken private by Duke in 2007 for £77m, employs more than 2,000 people across the country and does NHS and private dental work.

Bridgepoint said it had committed £60m for capital expenditure and arranged a £146.5m bank loan with a syndicate made up of Bank of Ireland, Barclays, GE Capital, HSBC, ING and Societe Generale.

Oasis chief executive Justin Ash said: “With Bridgepoint as our new funding partner, we will be strongly positioned for further profitable expansion. We have a successful track record of acquisitions and new openings, and plan ongoing and rapid expansion whilst we continue to support our dental teams to deliver great patient care.”

Bridgepoint has bought the outfit for less than nine times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation value, lower than the 12 times Duke originally paid.

The deal includes a clause allowing Duke to roll over a portion of the cash generated by the transaction and take up a minority stake in the company.