Practice Plan finds new home with trade buyer after Dunedin Private Equity exit

An eight-year involvement with dental membership plan business Practice Plan has netted Dunedin Private Equity a 2.8x return on its investment.

Dunedin Private Equity has exited its interest in Practice plan through a trade deal with Wesleyan Assurance Society.

While the deal value is undisclosed, the Edinburgh and London-based private equity firm says the sale has realised a money multiple of 2.8x.

Back in 2005, Dunedin backed a management buy-out (MBO) of the Shropshire-based business, allowing the founding shareholders to exit. The business helps dental practices grow customer bases through marketing, business and consultancy support – as well as providing practice branded dental membership plans.

Since the 2005 deal, which was led by Steve Turnock and Nick Dilworth, Practice Plan has reportedly doubled its membership base, divested of its non-core subsidiaries and expanded into the Irish market. The business has also closed bolt-on acquisitions, including those of Isoplan and Medenta.

Dilworth, managing director of Practice Plan, says that Dunedin introduced ‘quality members’ to the board and management team.

‘Practice plan is now well placed to take advantage of new opportunities and to continue its expansion into new markets,’ he adds.

New introductions to the business came in the form of Tony Lochery as chairman as well as Dilworth himself through a rise to managing director. A new COO and IT director were also recruited.

New owner Wesleyan Assurance Society provides financial advice to clients in the medicine, dental, teaching, legal and other professional markets.

Craig Errington, Wesleyan’s chief executive, says, ‘The acquisition of Practice Plan is part of a larger strategic growth programme that we are embarking upon over the coming years.

‘Until now we have largely focused on providing personal financial services to dentists. Practice Plan is a strong and successful business and will play an integral role in helping us to grow our commercial offering to dental practices.’

The exit for Dunedin is the first of the year for the firm. Other activity since the turn of the year has included the closing of a new £300 million fund as well as a number of portfolio acquisitions and a new buy-out.

Oliver Bevan, investment director at Dunedin, comments, ‘Practice Plan has shown consistent growth, both organically and by acquisition despite challenging market conditions.

‘This is a core element of Dunedin’s approach to investing: we look for businesses where we can unlock hidden potential in order to maximise value for all stakeholders.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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