Pass the parcel Part 94, now it’s Portman’s turn.

Swiss firm joins £300m race for Cheltenham winner’s dental chain

Jacobs Holding is among the suitors trying to get in the saddle with Cheltenham-winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, Sky News learns.

A Swiss family office whose investment firepower was partly generated by an international chocolate producer has joined the £300m race to buy the dental chain run by a former Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey.

Sky News has learnt that Jacobs Holding, which last year snapped up Southern Dental, a group of NHS and private dental practices, is among the bidders for Portman Dental Care.

Full piece here.

Addendum June 7th 2018.

It appears that I was misled, the Portman group are re-financing and not getting out of dentistry – yet. Happy to make that clear. My apologies for any confusion.

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For Movies read Health (including Dentistry)

One of my favourite podcasts is “Here’s the thing” which is introduced by the actor Alec Baldwin. It has a simple format, Alec talks to someone who interests him. On a recent episode his guest was veteran actor and activist James Cromwell, their discussion took in some of the big problems with the (Hollywood) movie industry.

With the news this week that £3.1 billion of NHS contracts have gone to private companies (including £1bn to Virgin) and the march of venture capitalists in dentistry their conversation struck a chord and could easily be applied to healthcare.

Alec Baldwin: “The business is completely taken over by non-creative people, it’s non-creative people from top to bottom. It’s marketing people and finance people. They don’t even like movies! These people are “in the movie business”.

James Cromwell: “Yeah, these people would just like to do the money part, the producing part and then have no product at all, and then go on to the next thing, raising money for the next one.”

Alec Baldwin:  “If they could be doing something else (*to make money) they would.” 

(*my words)

 

 

Oasis. BUPA. Round and round until the music stops….

(Apologies for mixed metaphors)

I remember a staple of children’s parties was a game called pass the parcel. In this a present was wrapped in many layers of paper and passed from child to child who were seated in a circle. When the music stopped whoever had the parcel removed a layer of wrapping paper. As the game wore on it became more exciting as to who would be holding the parcel when the last sheet of wrapping was removed.

The present wasn’t always what you wanted. Some parents would wrap cabbages or other vegetables.

The news that Bridgepoint is selling Oasis to BUPA has been rumoured for a couple of months. The price is apparently £835 million. They paid £185 million when they bought it in 2013. They have made serious acquisitions and expansions (including using the fact that they also owned Smiles to further expand into Ireland).

They (BUPA) already have a number of practices which I believe are all private, taking on the conglomerate that is Oasis with lots of NHS practices will be a challenge. I have heard stories of associate dentists having to buy their own materials  and other less than thrilling tales of the pursuit of the UDA target that made me feel it was a “buy, build, expand and sell exercise”. That’s what venture capitalists do.

BUPA is a name that one readily associates with private health care and i wonder if this is the first step into their creating an alternative very large private dental chain. In which case they will have to set about developing a culture of customer service, communication and patient care that many of Oasis practices are sadly lacking at the moment.

That’s a very big ticket for them to repay. As with all these takeovers about which I seem to write 3 or 4 times a year I wish them success because the workforce of dentists and DCPs deserve good management and appreciation and the patients should be able to expect and receive the very best treatment.

It is a myth that any business is too big to fail. I am concerned that this parcel may well reveal itself to have a balloon at its centre. In which case be careful how you tear the paper and sellotape, because, to use a line which I seem to write every couple of weeks at the moment, there’s nothing sadder than a burst balloon. My memory of a lot of children’s parties is them ending with the someone in tears.

This time the balloon could be very big indeed….

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You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Lancaster city centre.

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Bidders Asked To Swallow Oasis Dental Chain. When will the balloon burst?

cartoon illustration of a small fish swimming happily inside the mouth of big fish

Bidders Asked To Swallow Oasis Dental Chain

From SkyNews.
Bridgepoint is preparing to hire bankers to oversee a sale of Oasis, Britain’s second-biggest dentistry provider.The dentistry chain chaired by Lord Rose, the man spearheading the campaign for the UK to remain in the European Union, is preparing to put itself up for sale.
Sky News understands that the owner of Oasis Healthcare, which owns more than 300 practices across the UK, is about to kick off talks with prospective advisers about a formal auction of the business.
A sale will value the business at several hundred million pounds, and is expected to generate a decent return to Bridgepoint, its owner since 2013.
The timing of a process has not yet been finalised, but it is likely to coincide with – or come shortly after – an auction of Southern Dental, a smaller rival to Oasis.
Southern, which was founded by Dr Mazdak Eyrumlu a decade ago has retained Catalyst Corporate Finance, an advisory firm, to sell itself less than two years after an earlier auction was abandoned.
MyDentist, a larger competitor owned by buyout firm Carlyle, has also been exploring a sale or flotation, although it is unclear whether it is likely to change hands this year.
Oasis has been chaired by Lord Rose since shortly after Bridgepoint acquired it for £185m, since when it has announced a number of further bolt-on acquisitions to bolster its size.
In May 2014, it bought Smiles Dental and Apex Dental Care in deals which added more than 110 practices.
Accounts filed at Companies House for the year ended March 31, 2015 showed a 63% rise in turnover to £234m, with pre-tax profit up more than half to £30m.

In his foreword to the accounts, Lord Rose described Oasis as “the only branded group offering a sizeable mix of both NHS and private treatment”.
In addition to Oasis and his role at Britain Stronger in Europe, Lord Rose chairs Ocado, the online grocer, and FatFace, the fashion retailer.
Bridgepoint declined to comment on Monday.Glithead fishe skeleton in the plate from above

Lefsetz on Founders

From The Lefsetz Letter – March 13th. I don’t always agree with what Bob Lefsetz writes but I enjoy what he says and usually the way that he says it.

Founders

Don’t take no for an answer. But when their product is in the marketplace to no acclaim, to little adoption, they pivot.

He who is invested in the present will get lost in the future.

Founders remember when they were broke, what it took to gain traction, managers can do only thus. Which is why Apple is failing under Tim Cook yet burgeoned under Steve Jobs. Jobs remembered working in the garage, hustling… When Steve came back to Apple he was willing to make the big decisions, the big leaps forward, he slimmed the product line, narrowed the focus and went all in on an advertising campaign that satisfied himself, not focus groups. If you’re not willing to leave some people out, you will never succeed. Play to somebody, not everybody. Remember when Jobs famously said he was ceding the enterprise to focus on education? Today education is owned by the Chromebook. You must own something or you own nothing. Right now Apple has a huge footprint in mobile phones, but worldwide iOS is dwarfed by Android. Will the next great leap forward come from Apple? Probably not, probably from another outsider with nothing to lose who has pivoted from failure to success. There is no founder left at Apple, it’s to their detriment. There are no founders left at the major record labels, to their detriment. With the roll-up of live entertainment scrappy founders have been eviscerated, centralized buying might do well for the bottom line today, but hampers you in the future, there’s no one with their ear to the ground taking chances locally, and concert promotion will always be a local business.

Founders are not hampered by their education. The reason so many successful entrepreneurs never finished college is because college too often puts you in a box, tells you how to think, emphasizes no instead of yes.

Continues here

Does this apply to (some) dental corporates?

I read the obituary of Sir Adrian Cadbury in the weekend FT. After a distinguished career as an athlete, businessman and administrator he has died aged 86. Long after he left the firm, that was named after his ancestor John Cadbury, the company was controversially taken over by Kraft in 2009. He and his younger brother, Dominic, wrote to the Daily Telegraph about the proposed merger saying,

“A bidder can buy a business. What they cannot acquire is legitimacy over the character, values, experience and traditions on which that business was founded and flourished.”

There’s more to business than shareholder value and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Food for thought.

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