Investment

Deal of the week – European family co-investment group buys into US health group

A private equity deal involving an investment group representing some of Europe’s wealthiest families has bought a minority stake in a US healthcare group. The deal is interesting because of the investment group behind it. 

Belgium-based Cobepa has bought a sake in Precision Orthopedics, a provider of integrated orthopaedic surgical care services in Maryland. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. According to a press statement from Cobepa, Precision will use the new capital to bolster its current operations and implement its expansion plans within Maryland and elsewhere. 

Cobepa is a hybrid private equity investor, which uses capital – it doesn’t raise funds – from a number of prominent European family business and aristocratic dynasties. Its investors include the Spoelberch and d’Ansembourg families, among the wealthiest in Belgium. Both own stakes in the Anheuser-Busch InBev drinks empire. 

A member of a prominent Belgian aristocratic family, the Davignons, also sits on the board and so does Charles de Liedekerke (he is a Count and a member of another Belgian aristocratic family). De Liedekerke is also related to the Bekaert family, who control the eponymous Belgian multi-billionaire dollar multinational. 

Other investors include Benjamin de Rothschild, the UK-based Cayzer family, and the von Baumbach family, who own a sizable stake in the German pharmaceutical group, Boehringer Ingelheim. 

Based in Brussels, Cobepa is run by Jean-Marie Laurent Josi, who’s been at Cobepa since 1988. Josi himself comes from another prominent Belgian business family, who sold their insurance business to Winterthur in 1997.

Many of Cobepa’s deals are cross-border in nature – perhaps hardly surprising given the size of the Belgian market. It classically buys stakes of around 10 to 30% in mid-market private companies. 

Cobepa’s says it pursues growth capital investments and leveraged buy-out transactions. Given the backing from members of family business dynasties, Cobepa tends to take a patient capital approach to realize its returns on its investments. 

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