The Irish-American private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal is among the bidders shortlisted to acquire the Mater Private hospital group.
The Irish Times has learned that Carlyle Cardinal is one of four or five groups shortlisted to bid for the Dublin-based healthcare provider, which is expected to be valued at about €500 million.
Carlyle Cardinal faces opposition from AMP Capital, an Australian investment group with more than €100 billion of assets under management, and Macquarie, an Australian investment bank.
The sale process for the Mater, which has annual revenues of about €200 million, was kicked off last September by its majority shareholder CapVest, a London-based venture capital company led by Irishman Séamus Fitzpatrick.
CapVest acquired a stake of just more than 50 per cent in the Mater Private in 2007 in a deal reported at the time to value the group at €350 million. The balance of the shares are owned by management and staff. In 2014, the Sunday Times revealed that CapVest had proposed a merger with its rival the Hermitage Medical Clinic in west Dublin to create a "major new force in Irish private healthcare". This plan failed to gain support.
The Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Fund is a joint venture between US investment firm the Carlyle Group and Dublin-based Cardinal Capital Group. It makes buyout and growth equity investments in mid-sized companies across a variety of sectors in Ireland, with equity investments ranging from €5 million to €50 million.
Since the beginning of 2014, its investments have included electronic payments group Payzone, meats company Carroll Cuisine, Lily O’Brien’s chocolates and Abtran, the call centre operator. It has also been linked with a bid for AA Ireland, the motor services group and insurance provider, which is being made available for sale by its UK parent.
No comment was available from either Carlyle Cardinal or the Mater Private.
Originally founded by the Sisters of Mercy at Eccles Street on the north side of Dublin, the modern-day Mater Private opened in 1986. It has capacity for 202 beds and seven operating theatres, with about 190 consultants and more than 800 staff. The hospital opened a new emergency department in 2015 offering a walk-in service, and is considered a centre of excellence for cardiac- and cancer-related procedures.
In 2012, the group acquired Cork Medical and it also operates treatment centres or clinics in Co Cork, Limerick, Liverpool, Drogheda, Navan and Sligo.