Today we’re taking a deeper look at Warburg Pincus’ upcoming exit from healthcare firm Polyplus, as Nina Lindholm speaks to managing director Ruoxi Chen about the sale as well as the conditions for exits more broadly.
Next up, the business services sector is in vogue with a growth investment by KKR in a public relations firm and HIG Capital acquiring a personnel management company. Then we finish with a look at a growth investment by Summit Partners and Peugeot Invest in a legal data provider.
We’d been hearing a lot about how exits were becoming increasingly difficult thanks to wider market dynamics, such as a dormant IPO sector, difficult financing conditions for potential buyers as well as recession concerns.
But there are definite signs that the exit market is reopening, including for deals nearer the upper end of the size range.
As well as Cerberus Capital Management completing the sale of Worldwide Flight Services for an enterprise value of €2.25 billion last week, Archimed and Warburg Pincus agreed to sell Polyplus, a provider of upstream technologies for cell and gene therapies, for around €2.4 billion to Sartorius Stedim Biotech in late March.
We’d already looked in depth at the several returns that Archimed will make from the exit (I say several because it had exposure to Polyplus via an original fund as well as a continuation fund) and you can find that piece here.
But this morning, we have the Warburg Pincus side of the story as Nina Lindholm speaks to managing director Ruoxi Chen.
Warburg agreed to sell the firm earlier than expected, Chen told Nina, as the company was in high demand despite a challenging exit market – one that requires more “bespoke” approaches.
Chen stressed that high-quality businesses will always have a market, but even within healthcare, firms cannot escape the macroeconomic turmoil. “Healthcare is resilient, but it’s not immune to what’s happening in the broader environment,” said Chen. “We’re living through this period where some of the slowdown that we’re seeing is caused by a buyer/seller mismatch. Buyers are looking forward at this uncertainty, while sellers tend to be more backward looking.”
Within Warburg’s portfolio, activity is picking up again. “The deals are going to be more creative, more bespoke,” Chen explained. “It’s going to be less like the 2020-era of exits where it was a lot of pre-emptive auctions and tonnes of PE.”
Sources close to the Polyplus deal expect Warburg to realise almost 5x on its initial investment over an approximately three-year hold.
Check out the full interview to learn more about Warburg’s ownership of Polyplus and how it helped the firm grow.
Private equity, public relations
KKR will make a growth investment in FGS Global, a global strategic advisory and communications consultancy. Golden Gate Capital, a shareholder in FGS Global since 2016, will exit its investment via the sale of its interest to KKR.
FGS Global is headquartered in New York. The deal values the firm at $1.425 billion (€1.31 billion).
WPP, a public relations company based in London, will remain the majority owner of the company, and FGS Global employees will remain substantial shareholders, according to a release.
KKR’s investment in FGS will help in the expansion of FGS’ international footprint, the release said. KKR will make the investment primarily through its European Fund VI.
Sticking with business services, HIG Capital has acquired a majority stake in Office People, a German personnel management and temporary staffing company.
Headquartered in Münster, Office People works in personnel leasing, personnel placement and master vendor management. The company offers additional services such as on-site management and EU recruiting.
Office People, founded in 2005, focuses on sectors with structurally high workforce demand including aviation, e-commerce, logistics and automotive, according to a statement.
The company employs over 9000 external staff across over 100 locations.
Summit Partners and Peugeot Invest have secured a majority growth investment in Doctrine, a provider of data, search, and productivity services for legal professionals.
Doctrine is based in Paris, France.
Doctrine has grown by more than 20x in the last five years, according to a release.