As the pound dips ever further against the dollar and with Article 50 being invoked in the next 6 months, will the UK see a buying frenzy from international investors?
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Recent M&A activity
- Jefferies has been appointed by Arcadia Healthcare to sell 19 UK mental health facilities as part of the CMA review of the Priory Group acquisition. Three US PE firms (BC Partners, The Carlyle Group and Apax Partners) have made it through to the next round.
- Nestlé has announced the acquisition of UK based Phagenesis, a manufacturer of devices to treat dysphagia, which helps sufferers regain control of swallowing. The acquisition is anticipated to be completed by 2019, based on completion of European and U.S. development programmes.
- MML-backed Iqarus, an offshore medical support and occupational health business, has acquired RS Occupational Health to expand their business in the UK & the North Sea.
- Cambridge based Fluidic Analytics raised £5.3 million in Series B financing. Fluidic Analytics develops products based on a new technology for protein characterisation.
- Calculus Capital to invest £3m in drug developer C4X Discovery.
- Calculus Capital exited life sciences firm Horizon Discovery, with average exit multiple for the shares of 1.82x.
- £540 million has been invested in GSK and Verily Life Science owned Galvani Biolelectronics to develop bioelectronic medicines.
- Sovereign Capital are looking at options to sell neurological rehabilitation specialist Christchurch Group.
- Total Physiotherapy and Jamie Bell Physiotherapy have merged following acquisition of Jamie Bell's share capital by Ribble Bidco invest.
- KM Brennan (Chemists) were acquired by PCT Healthcare for an undisclosed sum.
- The final 2 Southern Care facilities (Maes Elwy Nursing Home & Coed Duon Nursing Home) were sold to a Welsh care operator - 6 years after the company was first placed into administration.
- Frontier Medical Group acquired Genie Care Limited to continue it's investment in the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.
- Housing and Care 21 are looking for a buyer of its £29.2 million homecare division, looking to focus instead on retirement housing.
- Key Capital Partners have invested in domiciliary care business Routes Heathcare
- Liaison Financial Services has acquired 100% of Activ8 Intelligence Limited, a provider or HR analytics software. Liaison are a supplier of temporary workforce management services and analytics into the NHS.
- Lancashire based Laminar Medica Ltd, a provider of temperature controlled packaging for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, has been bought by NY-listed Sonoco ThermoSafe
- Deloitte has been appointed as administrator for Northern Ireland based Care Circle and Slemish Homes (a group of 3 care homes).
- Bupa is in talks for £500 million takeover bid for Oasis Dental Care.
- Hong Kong's Sailing Capital have acquired private college group Astrum Education from Sovereign Capital.
- Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets has acquired the 399-bed Student Village in Winchester from a private investor for £31 million.
- Busy Bees nursery group acquired the Teddy Bear Club nursery in Dundee for an undisclosed sum.
- Silverfleet Capital has completed the buyout of Lifetime Training Group, an apprenticeship, recruitment services and training courses provider.
If there is one thing we can all agree on – the UK school system needs significant overhaul. The recent furore around Grammar Schools has misplaced the real issue; students in the UK are facing ever increasing difficulties in obtaining an education that works for them.
Each successive government has changed guidelines on school rankings, school types, exam standards, curriculum and the school leaving age, which, with increased funding pressures on state and smaller independent schools, leave teachers and school management teams with little room to focus on the students.
Education needs to be less about political whims and more about relevant life-skills provided to young people in order to give each student the chance to improve their social mobility.
I’ve heard anecdotes of teenagers aged 13 and 14 not being able to understand why they needed to read, until teachers stopped using the prescribed curriculum and used Twitter, Facebook, menus, and video game instructions to make school more relevant. Should students who love reading and read a book every evening be placed in the same class as those who hate it?
This might not be in a typical ‘grammar / comprehensive’ model. But schools are typically always streamed – from comprehensives, to grammars and fee-paying schools and parents expect their children to be in classes relevant to their ability. Why not focus on expanding good schools, developing good teachers, building new schools & fixing the poor schools? Should grammar schools be included in this process? Yes, definitely. Should they be the only type of new schools? No. We need to work out what skills the UK economy requires and design schools that can fill that demand, in a more ‘real-life’ way.
Ideally, there would be a more flexible structure from 11 upwards, but having selective schools does not stop more academically driven students moving from comprehensives to selective sixth forms – even the Harris Federation runs selective sixth-forms, focusing on sending those students to Russell Group Universities. It would be preferable to see a more holistic approach to changing the British education system, however I believe that grammar schools can play an important role in part of a wider system, therefore if there is current political will to create more grammars then we should take the opportunity.
Alternatively, grammars are such a highly charged political football, the damage caused by a Conservative government creating swathes of new grammars, only to have them closed as a vote-winning policy by a Labour government in 10 years’ time, means that other more sustainable options should be explored. With an overall focus on cross-party agreement such that teachers and students can rely on the stability of the schooling system.
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