32-Clinic Urgent Care Chain Sold (04/14/2011)

The Miami Herald reported yesterday that Florida Governor Rick Scott has closed a deal to sell his shares in Solantic, Inc., a Jacksonville-based chain of urgent care clinics the governor founded in 2001. Gov. Scott has sold his shares to Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, former owners of Concentra, making the New York investment firm the largest shareholder in the company, according to the Miami Herald. Neither parties would disclose the exact figures of the deal, which is projected to be finalized April 29.

While the Miami Herald article credits the sale to the governor's attempts to clear himself from conflict-of-interest questions related to "aggressive health care changes he wants state lawmakers to approve," the sale is yet another in a growing trend of large investment companies moving into the urgent care space. As recently as September of last year, MedExpress, which was owned by private investment firm Excellere Partners, was purchased by global growth equity firms General Atlantic, LLC, and Sequoia Capital. Then in November of last year, North Carolina-based Urgent Cares of America was acquired by the Comvest Group, a private health care investment firm, and Concentra was purchased by Humana for $790 million.

These purchases indicate that investment firms with very large sums of available investment capital are moving into the industry. Private equity firms that make purchases of this size usually plan to invest $100 million to more than a billion dollars over the course of five years. Thus, in the next few years, one might expect the emergence of several large chains with hundreds (maybe thousands) of clinics in the USA.