Barchester Healthcare has become the latest of the UK’s largest care home groups to be put up for sale, according to press reports today.
The FT said owners, Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, JP McManus and John Magnier, were seeking £2.5bn for Barchester and had instructed JP Morgan to advise on the sale.
Barchester is the latest large care home provider to go on the market this year following news that HC-One and Care UK were seeking buyers. Four Seasons is, meanwhile, in the process of being taken over by its leading creditor H/2 Capital Partners and Signature Senior Lifestyle was bought by Canadian investor in June.
Investor interest in the sector is being driven by its dependable returns due to the UK’s ageing demographic and under supply of the market.
Tony Stein, chief executive of Healthcare Management Solutions, told CHP: “The announcement of the possible sale of Barchester further demonstrates the level of interest in the private pay sector of social care provision. With a lot of private equity money looking for a home and the compelling demographics now is a good time for owners to consider an exit.
“Sadly, until the funding issue is resolved for publicly funded clients, the value gap between services providing to the private pay market and those providing to the public pay market will continue to widen.”
Barchester owns more than 200 homes with 17,000 staff caring for 11,000 elderly people.
Several groups are believed to have expressed an interest in the group, attracted by its private paying customers.
Sources said a formal sale of the business, which is owned through investment vehicle Grove Investments, could begin within weeks.
Barchester declined to comment on the report.