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LBO France Said to Hire Rothschild to Sell Medi-Partenaires

LBO France, one of the country’s oldest private equity firms, may sell its stake in clinic operator Medi-Partenaires SA, three people with knowledge of the decision said.

The firm and Medi-Partenaires’s managers, which together own the majority of the shares, picked Rothschild to manage a sale that may raise more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), said the people, who declined to be identified because the proposal is private. Elizabeth O’Reilly, a spokeswoman for LBO France, declined to comment, and Veronique Molieres, a spokeswoman for Medi-Partenaires, couldn’t immediately comment.

Buyout firms are purchasing and selling assets after the credit crisis almost halted deal-making for two years. Private equity firms have led $39.5 billion of transactions this year, or 47 percent more than in the same period in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

LBO France bought the Paris-based clinic operator in 2007 from Barclays Private Equity Ltd., Cobalt Capital Partners LP and Sagard Private Equity Partners. That purchase valued the company at more than 600 million euros, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Since the acquisition, the company, which was created in 1990, has expanded through acquisitions, almost doubling revenue to about 500 million euros, one of the people said. It operates 25 clinics and has invested 45 million euros in the past two years, according to its Web site.

The clinic operator’s managers are prepared to reinvest part of their proceeds from the sale, the people said.

Medi-Partenaires competes with publicly traded Generale de Sante SA, which operates 170 private hospitals in Europe and Canada, and Groupe Vitalia, which runs 46 private hospitals and is owned by New York-based buyout firm Blackstone Group LP. Blackstone failed in July 2008 to sell Vitalia after bidders balked at the 1.4 billion-euro asking price.

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