GBL near to US$1.7bil Affidea deal with Swiss tycoon

LONDON: European investment firm Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) SA is nearing a deal to buy health-care services firm Affidea from Switzerland’s richest person Ernesto Bertarelli, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal could be announced this week after GBL, as the Belgium-based holding company is known, outbid rivals including industry players and private equity firms, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

A purchase could value the Netherlands-based company at about €1.6bil (US$1.7bil or RM7.2bil), the people said.

The Geneva-based Bertarelli family’s private investment firm B-Flexion, formerly known as Waypoint Capital, has been working with advisers to study a sale or listing of Affidea, Bloomberg News reported in November.

Affidea provides diagnostic imaging services as well as outpatient cancer care, chemotherapy and radiation oncology services.

A transaction would highlight increasing appetite among family-run investment funds and private capital to do deals, especially targeting companies that can grow through acquisitions and investments over the long term.

Affidea began its operations three decades ago and currently runs about 319 centres in 15 countries in Europe, according to its website. Affidea has grown both organically and via mergers and acquisitions, catering to about 10 million patients every year.

Talks between GBL and B-Flexion are at an advanced stage, the people said. Representatives for GBL declined to comment. B-Flexion and Affidea didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours. — Bloomberg

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