Acadia Enters Definitive Agreement to Sell UK Business in $1.47B Deal

Acadia Healthcare (Nasdaq: ACHC) has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its United Kingdom business, the company announced Dec. 30.

Waterland Private Equity has agreed to purchase the assets for about 1,078 million pounds, or $1.47 billion. The deal will generate approximately $1.35 billion in proceeds for the behavioral health behemoth, according to a press release announcing the news. 

Headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, Acadia is one of the nation’s largest behavioral health providers. After the sale of its UK business, which consists of about 360 facilities, Acadia will be left with approximately 220 facilities across 40 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

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The company offers everything from inpatient psychiatric care in its hospitals and specialty facilities to residential and outpatient treatment in its centers and clinics. It treats people with mental health conditions, eating disorders, trauma-related issues and substance use disorders (SUD).

The transaction will involve all of Acadia’s UK business operations, which exist under the brand The Priory Group. The deal is set to close in January 2021 and to help the company reach some of its domestic financial goals, according to Acadia CEO Debbie Osteen.

“We intend to use the proceeds to pay down debt and for other corporate purposes,” Osteen said in the press release. “We believe we are well positioned to meet the strong demand for mental health and substance use treatment across the U.S. We will continue to focus on delivering the highest level of patient care and advancing our position as a leading behavioral healthcare facilities operator in the U.S.”

In the past, Acadia leaders have also hinted that the sale would help fuel the company’s domestic growth.

The billion dollar deal has been a long time coming. Acadia first announced that it planned to sell its UK operations back in 2019. By February 2020, the behavioral health behemoth had received offers from “multiple bidders,” according to Osteen, who discussed the sale process on the company’s year-end 2019 earnings call.

But in March, Acadia was forced to temporarily suspend the sale due to the coronavirus and its impact on market conditions. About six months later, in September, it announced plans to resume the sale process.

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