Are the buyout boom times back? PE trio agree $34bn club deal for medical supplies major Medline

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A trio of private equity majors have sealed one of the biggest buyouts of all time by agreeing a $34bn deal for US healthcare supplies group Medline.

Blackstone, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman have teamed up for the deal, which rivals some of the largest private equity club investments from the boom years just prior to last decade’s global financial crash.

Singapore sovereign investor GIC also took part in the buyout. Medline will continue to be led by the Mills family, who launched the business in 1966.

The winning consortium beat off competition from a rival team-up between Bain Capital and CVC and a group led by Brookfield Asset Management.

Medline, which had revenues of $17.5bn last year, provides products ranging from staff and patient apparel, hospital beds and mattresses and nursing supplies to wound care products, anaesthetic equipment, diagnostic machines and over-the-counter drugs.

The mammoth deal between a trio of private equity majors recalls the club-style deals of the 2000s, exemplified by the record $44bn buyout of energy giant TXU Corp by KKR and TPG in 2007.

That huge deal was one of the last giant club buyouts of the decade, with the onset of the global financial crash later in 2007 putting an end to joint megadeals for many years.

Joe Baratta, global head of private equity at Blackstone, said, “The Mills family has built an exceptional business, and we are proud to partner with them and Medline’s management to support the company’s continued strong growth.

“Large corporate partnerships with family-led companies are an area where we have deep experience and we look forward to investing in Medline’s further expansion.”

Allen Thorpe, partner at Hellman & Friedman added, “Medline is known for its unwavering commitment to its customers, providing high-quality medical products that are used to treat patients every day.

“We are excited to support that commitment and partner with Medline to continue bringing the broadest and deepest capabilities to the healthcare industry.”

The investment is expected to be completed in late 2021.

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