Breaking news report: Charterhouse evaluating £700 m sale of Tunstall Healthcare (UPDATED)

Breaking News

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Reuters reports as an exclusive that its sources indicate that UK private equity firm Charterhouse is considering a sale of Tunstall Healthcare Group for a possible valuation of £700 m ($1.1 bn) or more. According to this report, Charterhouse is working with JP Morgan on an exploration for a Tunstall sale in late 2015 or 2016. All three companies declined to comment.

Today, Tunstall also announced their Connected Healthcare 2020 strategy with a £100 m investment over the next five years, which we reported only a few hours ago.

Tunstall has gone through multiple hands in the past ten years. Charterhouse bought Tunstall Group in 2008 for £514m from Bridgepoint Capital, which acquired it from Hg Capital in 2005 for £225 m.

An exit for Charterhouse has long been rumored in UK healthcare circles. In the dark before the Christmas 2014 holiday, Tunstall reported disappointing results for 2014 (close 30 Sept): a YOY £6 m drop in revenue and a £9.7 m drop in EBITDA.  [TTA 24 Dec 14] According to CompanyCheck, which posts financial reports for UK companies, Tunstall Group’s net worth as of that date exceeded a negative £1 bn–a steadily declining position since 2010, though with stronger cash and reduced liabilities (see Accounts page).

We’ll post updates as they’re available.

Update 25 June with some quotes from a Tunstall spokesperson from their ‘hometown paper’, the Yorkshire Post.

Changes at the top at Tunstall

EXCLUSIVE

A reliable and informed source has told this Editor (1 Nov) that Gil Baldwin, Group CEO of Tunstall Healthcare Group Ltd. will be stepping down, to be replaced by Paul Stobart, the former CEO of CPPGroup plc. Mr. Baldwin joined Tunstall in March 2010 from major insurer Aviva, where he headed Aviva Health. Prior to CPP, Mr. Stobart held various positions over 15 years at global enterprise software giant Sage Group, concluding as their CEO for Northern Europe.

Charterhouse Capital Partners acquired Tunstall in 2008, with former owner Bridgepoint Capital retaining a minority share. However, a sale/VC exit has long been rumored. The company recently received some unflattering attention on its (fully legal) usage of the Quoted Eurobond Exemption in The Independent [TTA 25 Oct].

This Editor notes that Mr. Stobart became CPPGroup’s CEO to manage the fallout after it was revealed in March 2011 that the FSA (Financial Services Authority) was investigating the company for mis-selling their bank card protection and identity theft products. After two years of struggle and a record £10.5 million FSA fine, four major banks dramatically rescued the company in July with an eleventh-hour £38 million refinancing, but the consequence of restructuring was that Mr. Stobart and the CFO both stepped down in August. [Guardian, Sky News via Orange, CreditToday] This was certainly a trial by fire. It should also be noted that to this Editor’s knowledge, Mr. Stobart has no specific healthcare, telecare/telehealth or health insurance experience, which is unusual for a position of this type.

Update 4 November: Tunstall’s release at 2:20 PM UK time, making this official. Our source indicates that Mr. Stobart’s start date is today (Monday) and it transpired quickly with business staff only being notified internally last Wednesday, which makes this an exceedingly quick change.