Equistone backs Concept Life Sciences in $100m deal

Concept Life Sciences, a newly formed international scientific laboratory and consultancy business, has made three acquisitions with a combined enterprise value approaching $100m, following backing from Equistone Partners Europe.

This investment is the 21st from Equistone's £1.5bn Fund IV, which sees the mid-market private equity firm secure a majority stake in the newly formed business.  

As part of the deal, Concept Life Sciences has acquired Peakdale Molecular Limited in Chapel-en-le-Frith, along with Resource & Environmental Consultants Limited (REC) and Scientific Analysis Laboratories Limited (SAL), which operate a number of sites across the UK. 

Headquartered in Manchester, the group is currently focused on laboratory based analytical testing and complex chemistry synthesis, with a view to accelerate investment in biological sciences, cell based ADME services, biostorage and stability testing. 

Executive Chairman Michael Fort and Chief Executive Officer Alan Morgan will lead the business which has over 500 staff across ten core locations. 

The deal was sourced by Equistone Partner Steve O'Hare and Investment Director Andi Tomkinson, who both join the board as non-executive directors. 

Steve O'Hare, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe Limited, commented: "We've worked closely with the management team to develop the new group, whilst simultaneously making the foundation acquisitions, which have given entry into high growth markets. The company has established a strong presence nationally and created a platform to target international growth and expand its service offering to existing clients. We look forward to developing the business further through the execution of its buy-and-build strategy."

Alan Morgan, Chief Executive at Concept Life Sciences, said: "The acquisitions are the first steps in building a comprehensive platform of services for our clients requiring science based innovative solutions. Our objective is to expand our capacity across a broad range of services adjacent to our current capabilities in life, food, and environmental sciences. We have an outstanding management team and substantial financial support with Equistone to expand through a mix of organic growth and targeted acquisitions."  

Michael Fort, Executive Chairman at Concept Life Sciences, added: "Each of the companies we have acquired is a recognised leader in its field with an established client base. We believe these companies will experience growth at an even greater pace and see genuine benefit from being part of Concept Life Sciences. The UK is a leader in life sciences and an excellent base from which to expand an international science group."

A team at Deloitte in the North West led by Andy Westbrook and Oliver Tebbutt provided corporate finance advice to Equistone. 

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking (Neil Price) and HSBC (Simon Dixon) provided senior debt facilities.

Addleshaw Goddard (Paul Medlicott) advised Equistone, while DLA Piper advised the banks. 

Tax advice was provided by PwC (Nick Hatton and Stephen Woodhouse). Other advisers included Deloitte (financial due diligence), EY (commercial due diligence), Intuitus (IT due diligence), Marsh (insurance due diligence) and Deloitte Real Estate (real estate due diligence). 

Altium (Simon Lord) advised SAL and REC and Diagnostic Capital (Alex Clarkson) advised Peakdale.

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