Oasis sold again

From the FT

Bridgepoint buys Oasis Healthcare By Bede McCarthy

Private equity group Bridgepoint has bought Oasis Healthcare in a deal that gives the high street dental care provider an enterprise value of £185m.

Oasis is being sold by Duke Street Capital, which delisted the company from London’s Aim in 2007. Under the terms of the deal, Duke will exchange a portion of the proceeds for a minority stake in the business.

The cash and equity deal will be funded by a £146.5m loan arranged through Bank of Ireland, Barclays, GE Capital, HSBC, ING and Société Générale. Under the deal, Bridgepoint will also make £60m available for capital expenditure at Oasis Healthcare.

Oasis, which was founded in 1996, has more than 200 dental practices in the UK and more than 2,000 staff, including 800 dentists. It is a major supplier to the NHS as well as offering private services.
Justin Ash, Oasis chief executive, said the deal would provide the backing for expansion.
“We have a successful track record of acquisitions and new openings, and plan on-going and rapid expansion whilst we continue to support our dental teams to deliver great patient care,” he said.
“Oasis’s financial performance has been impressive throughout the recent economic cycle,” said Jamie Wyatt, a partner at Bridgepoint. “It is a robust platform with a commitment to quality and innovation from which to create the only branded dental operator of scale in the UK.”

Bridgepoint says the UK dental market is worth about £7bn and has grown steadily as the country’s ageing population spends more on dental services. However, it said corporations only owned 10 per cent of the market, with 34,000 dentists operating from 10,500 practices owned by individuals. Bridgepoint also said 60 per cent of services were paid for by patients.

and from UK Dental news

Bridgepoint is the owner of Fat Face, Care UK, Leeds Bradford Airport and Pret a Manger, values the high street dental care provider at £185m. Oasis is being sold by Duke Street Capital, which de-listed the dental corporate for £77m in 2007. Duke Street will retain a minority stake in the business.

Oasis, which was founded in 1996, has more than 200 dental practices in the UK treating 1.5m patients and more than 2,000 staff, including 800 dentists. It is a major supplier to the NHS as well as offering private services.

I was drawn by this from the Pret a Manger Wikipedia entry

Staff

In 1998, the company employed 1,400 people, of whom 19% were from the UK and 60% were from other European Union countries, mainly in Eastern Europe. Pret A Manger employs one in every 14 applicants. Applicants go on a one-day experience day at a shop and their success is determined by the other staff members, who vote the applicant in or not. Many managers and senior executives have come from within the company.

Management

The organizational structure of Pret a Manger is divided between its stores and the main offices. The London head office is the hub for the UK stores, while the office in New York City is the hub for the American stores. Each store contains levels of positions that range from Team Member to the General Manager of the store.  Above the in-store manager is the Operations Manager who is in charge of a group of roughly 10 stores, and above that are more senior management positions based out of the offices that are tasked with coordinating an entire region and maintaining communication with the company’s CEO in London. All the office employees are paired with a “buddy shop” where they work at least two days a year.

While the uppermost levels of management are located in the offices, not all the office jobs are above the store jobs in the organizational structure. Pret does not franchise any of its stores, in order to keep management strategies uniform across the entire brand. Orders do not strictly flow from the head offices in a top-down manner; instead, the channel of communication between the executives and the stores is open in both directions.

Pret a Manger promotes an internal culture as described in a leaflet entitled “Pret Behaviours.” The Behaviours break down traits into three categories: passion, clear talking and team working – and identify specific behaviours as “Don’t want to see,” “Want to see,” and “Pret perfect!” The number of Behaviours Pret hopes an employee exhibits increases with ones rank within the company: Team Members should practise around six Behaviours, Managers ten, and the company’s executives all of them.

Controversies

Affective labor issues

Pret a Manger has been cited as being particularly vigorous in extracting affective labor  from its employees. Affective labor (or emotional labor) is work which involves manipulating a person’s emotional state.

Pret a Manger demands go beyond traditional requirements for fast-food workers (such as courtesy, efficiency, and reliability) to such tasks as having “presence”, demonstrating a quirky sense of fun, and exhibiting behavior consistent with being inwardly happy with oneself. Pret A Manger uses mystery shoppers to ensure that employees deploy markers of a positive emotional state.

Since fast food service is not one of the traditional caring professions, this has led to some criticism of the company for overreaching while drawing some praise for the business model.

Here’s what they (Pret) say about working for Pret. Good luck one and all, I wish you well.

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