Apax Partners is reviving a sale of Unilabs in a deal that could value the Swiss diagnostic services business at about $5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
The private equity firm is working with Rothschild & Co. and could kick off a sale process for Geneva-based Unilabs as soon as next month, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Unilabs could attract both financial and strategic suitors, one of the people said.
Deliberations are ongoing and no final decisions on the sale process have been taken, according to the people. Representatives for Apax, Rothschild and Unilabs declined to comment.
Apax considered a sale of the business in 2019, shortly before the Covid-10 pandemic froze dealmaking. Demand for hospital and laboratory assets increased amid the pandemic and a sale of Unilabs could rank among the largest transactions in European health care this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Swedish private equity firm EQT AB agreed to buy French laboratories group Cerba HealthCare in a 4.5 billion-euro ($5.3 billion) deal in March. The following month, investors including buyout firm Cinven raised 671 million euros from an IPO of German laboratory operator Synlab AG.
Unilabs was taken private from the Swiss stock exchange in 2007 and merged with healthcare provider Capio AB’s diagnostic division. Apax agreed to buy out Unilabs’s other investors in late 2016. The company operates more than 120 laboratories and 44 radiology units across Europe, according to Apax.