Welsh makes wealth. Private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) invests in growing health care, information, and business services companies. It usually seeks controlling stakes in its target companies, partners with existing management in guiding strategy, and often adds to their operations via follow-up acquisitions. Founded in 1979, WCAS has raised approximately $20 billion of capital from institutional investors such as pension funds, banks, insurance companies, and university endowments, and has made investments in more than 160 companies. The company, which is currently investing an equity fund and a subordinated debt fund, has interests in more than 30 companies in its portfolio.
Holdings include hospital operator Ardent Health, portable storage company Mobile Mini, logistics provider OHL, and SHPS, which performs outsourced employee benefits and care management services.
With the US economy showing signs of life following the credit meltdown, WCAS picked up its acquisition activity in 2010, particularly in the health care sector. It invested in spinal device company K2M and took a majority stake in Springstone, which owns a psychiatric hospital in Indiana and plans to develop and acquire more hospitals around the US. WCAS also acquired a majority interest in dental practice management firm Smile Brands from Freeman Spogli. In 2011 the company invested in medical technology company Valeritas and health care services provider Matrix Medical Network.
On the information and business services side, WCAS acquired interests in online payment services company GlobalCollect, driver risk management company DriveCam, and Peak 10, a provider of data center infrastructure, in 2010 and 2011. Recent divestitures include the 2010 sale of its stake in occupational health services provider Concentra to Humana, and the sale of US Oncology, which performs back-office functions for cancer treatment centers, to McKesson.
WCAS had been relatively quiet since 2007, when its major acquisitions included United Surgical Partners International and financial transaction processor TransFirst. – less