PE Firm Lee Equity Partners Acquires Substance Use Disorder Provider Bradford Health

Middle-market private equity firm Lee Equity Partners has acquired substance use disorder provider Bradford Health. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The acquisition includes 40 substance abuse treatment and recovery centers in the Southeast U.S. Birmingham, Alabama-based Bradford Health was founded more than 40 years ago. It has centers in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina and Arkansas.

Bradford Health’s programs include inpatient and residential, outpatient rehab, detox services and extended care.


“We are pleased to be partnering with Lee Equity given their long-term track record of building market-leading healthcare businesses and developing clinically excellent organizations, specifically in behavioral health,” Bradford Health CEO Mike Rickman said in a statement.

Lee Equity purchased the company from fellow PE firm Centre Partners, which had acquired Bradford in 2016.

“We believe that the Company is well positioned for the future and will accelerate its growth trajectory while continuing to deliver high quality patient care,” Mark Gormley, Partner at Lee Equity, said in a statement.


This isn’t the first behavioral health deal for Lee Equity Partners. The PE firm’s portfolio includes mental health and addiction treatment provider Summit Behavioral Health and eating disorder provider Eating Recovery Center.

M&A in addiction treatment services has continued to decline following 2021’s blockbuster year. The deal volume in the substance use disorder space is down 29.4% in the first half of 2022, according to a report by the Braff Group.

The addiction treatment M&A action is also beginning to shift away from expensive cash-pay facilities and into more affordable options.

“All the money is not in a luxury program,” Dexter Braff, president of M&A advisory firm The Braff Group, said at the Behavioral Health Business VALUE conference. “All the money is in state-funded, and low and affordable private-pay in the local markets where people are getting the service.”

There have been a number of notable deals in the addiction treatment space this year. For example, in October, BayMark Health Services acquired opioid use disorder treatment provider Fritz Clinic.

Additionally, California-based Discovery Behavioral Health expanded into California with the acquisition of Brookdale Premiere Addiction Recovery.

Substance use treatment provider BrightView Health has also made M&A moves. In August, it acquired Column Health, which provides virtual and in-person medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy services.

While raising interest rates may be putting the brakes on some deals, it could still be a prime time for consolidation for companies with cash.

“What we’re seeing when we are out talking about acquisitions is that people are dropping out quicker and they don’t want to pay up as much,” David White, CEO of BayMark Health Services, said during a panel at Behavioral Health Business’ INVEST. “We’re sitting there with some dry powder, and we can wait it out. That’s been really helpful from an acquisition perspective; we’re able to acquire now and we’re seeing some folks who were acquisitive, who aren’t now.”

Companies featured in this article: