THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Oasis Healthcare take-over bid – a positive note!

You may have read this already in the excellent Dentistry ezine — I just wanted to end the working week by flagging up the fact that, if the City is interested in investing in dentistry, then so should we be! I keep telling you that the future competition will be in providing boutique services and excellent customer care — and don’t forget your well-being and facial aesthetics departments. Positive differentiation — what will you be doing in 2008 to make yourself stand out from the crowd? Let the corporates slug it out with the PCT’s as to who can provide the most UDA’s and UOA’s at the lowest price, using technicians and clinicians that are prepared to work in sweat-shop conditions. Whilst they are busy competing for that market, you can make hay with real people who have a real interest in their dental health and appearance — provided by teams of people who care.

A number of organisations have confirmed that the dental corporate group Oasis Healthcare has been offered a takeover bid worth 82p a share from private equity group Duke Street Capital. Oasis Healthcare, the corporate that owns more than 130 dental practices in England and Wales, providing a both NHS and private dentistry now has to decide whether to accept an offer from private equity company Duke Street Capital for almost £77m. Duke Street Capital is a UK-based, independent private equity company investing in established, western European businesses valued in excess of £30 million. The offer, which supposedly consists of 82 pence in cash for each share valuing the business at about £76.9m, is a premium of 74.4% over 47 pence, the closing price before the start of the offer period. Its largest shareholder, ADP Healthcare is rumoured to be considering making a counter offer of over £80 million. Interest from private equity firms in dental companies is thought to reflect a hope to bring together a “very fragmented sector.” Corporates like Oasis and ADP only make up about 5% of the market. Duke Street Capital’s managing partner, Peter Taylor, is reported to have said that the dental market is undergoing significant change and that Oasis has an opportunity to become the market leader. Chief executive of Oasis Healthcare, Stephen Lambert, said the Duke Street Capital offer was too good to turn down. It promised to grow the company with particular emphasis on winning more NHS contracts, which at the moment account for 40% of its entire business.
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