Private equity groups near deal to buy Medline for $34bn


A consortium of private equity groups, including Blackstone and Carlyle, is close to acquiring medical supply group Medline for about $34bn, including debt, in what would be the largest buyout of the year, said people briefed on the matter.

The group of financial investors are expected to announce a deal soon, said a person with direct knowledge of it.

The transaction would be the largest buyout involving a club of private equity investors since the 2007 financial crisis. It would rank as one of the largest-ever private equity deals, behind the $44bn buyout of US energy group TXU Corporation in 2007.

Blackstone, which has also partnered with Hellman & Friedman on the deal, beat other consortiums of buyout groups, including one involving Bain Capital and CVC and another one led by Brookfield.

Medline, founded in 1966 by Jim and John Mills, is one of the largest manufacturers of medical supplies. The family-owned business is now run by Charles Mills.

In 2018 Blackstone agreed its largest deal since the financial crisis by pulling together $17.3bn to take a controlling stake in the financial terminals and data business of Thomson Reuters. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singapore state fund GIC helped finance the deal.

Club deals were popular in the years that preceded the financial crisis as they allowed private equity groups to be exposed to more and larger transactions. They came to an abrupt end after the crisis as credit dried up but have recently gained traction.

The prospective deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.



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