Apollo Global Management Inc. has agreed to take a stake in GI Alliance, the biggest gastroenterology practice in the U.S., as part of a physician-led buyout that values the company at $2.2 billion.
GI Alliance’s physician owners have agreed to buy back a minority equity stake of roughly 30 percent from Waud Capital Partners, according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg News. Apollo-managed funds from its hybrid value business are leading the investment. The private equity firm will also get two seats on the company’s board.
Apollo is making a $785 million investment through an equity strip that includes preferred and common equity, according to a spokesperson.
The deal lets GI Alliance and its doctors take charge of decision making at the medical practice. Under the previous arrangement, Waud Capital had the final say in the business even though GI and its physicians had become majority owners as it added doctors, GI Alliance Chief Executive Officer Jim Weber said.
“We were majority owned but we weren’t in majority control,” Weber said in an interview. “That was something that we missed and wanted back.”
Apollo’s hybrid value business provides structured capital to companies but unlike in traditional leveraged buyouts, the deals don’t involve Apollo taking control. Apollo has used the same vehicle to invest in Albertsons Cos. and Expedia Group Inc.
“This type of deal structure is unique, where it truly is partnership capital to a management team and physician ownership group — to allow them to accomplish their objectives but slot ourselves in neatly and be good partners but not necessarily control shareholders,” said Jason Scheir, Apollo’s head of US hybrid value and a partner at the firm.
GI Alliance’s roughly 700 gastroenterologists operate in 15 states including Texas, Florida, Washington and Indiana.
Apollo had about $515 billion assets under management as of the end of June.
Houlihan Lokey Inc. advised Apollo while Jefferies Financial Group Inc. worked with GI Alliance and Greenhill & Co. advised GI’s management and physician owners.