3i sells BetterCare stake

06 May 2005

3i Group plc, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces the sale of its stake in BetterCare to the Four Seasons Group in a deal valued at £116m.

3i will make a seven-fold return on its investment in the company.

3i first invested £6m in BetterCare in 1996, at which point the company operated three elderly care homes. Deploying 3i capital and industry expertise, BetterCare has since successfully expanded to 26 homes, making it one of the top 10 care home operators in the UK.

Ian Downing, 3i Investment Director said: "The elderly care industry is rapidly consolidating around a small number of very large players, and we believe this acquisition offers great opportunity in the current climate for a strengthened Four Seasons / BetterCare group."

Four Seasons will benefit from BetterCare's strength in the South East of England; an area of high demand for quality healthcare services. 

3i was advised on the deal by N M Rothschild, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Wragge & Co.

Notes to editors

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on buyouts, growth capital and venture capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders. 3i has bought into healthcare companies since the early 1980s and to date has conducted over 200 investments in this sector.  These include: Westminister Healthcare, sold to Barchester for £525m, German pharmaceutical company Betapharm in a €300m growth MBO, a €90m MBO of Care Principles, UK's PD Services; a £3.75m start-up and a £26m management buyout/buy-in of Green Corns Ltd. www.3i.com

About BetterCare
BetterCare is an independent company formed in 1993 during UK community care reforms. BetterCare Group have developed a portfolio of quality purpose designed care facilities with over 2000 care beds in twenty-eight locations across the United Kingdom. www.bettercare.co.uk

About  Four Seasons
Founded in Scotland in 1987, the company is now the UK's largest owner and operator of care homes, and is also a major provider of specialised services for adults and adolescents with mental health needs. 
See www.fshc.co.uk  for more details