Centerbridge Partners, The Vistria Group Acquire Wellspring’s Help at Home

Help at Home — a Chicago-based home- and community-based services provider that operates across 13 states — has been acquired by a consortium of private equity buyers.

Specifically, Centerbridge Partners and The Vistria Group are teaming up to purchase Help at Home from Wellspring Capital Management, which will remain a minority investor in the company. The deal officially closed on Friday.

Founded in 1975, Help at Home provides a variety of medical and non-medical in-home care services across its footprint, caring for more than 60,000 clients across 155 locations. New York-based Wellspring — a PE firm that has raised more than $4 billion of initial capital commitments through six private equity funds — completed its acquisition of Help at Home in August 2015.

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In the deal announcement, Help at Home CEO Paul Mastrapa thanked Wellspring for its five years of stewardship. The CEO likewise noted that the Help at Home team looks forward to working with both Vistria and Centerbridge in years to come, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic shines a brighter light on the value of home-based care.

“For more than four decades, Help at Home has enabled seniors and people with disabilities to continue to lead independent lives in the familiar settings of their homes and communities,” Mastrapa said. “Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-home care we provide is more critical than ever because it allows these often vulnerable populations to receive care and support in the safety of their own homes.”

Chicago-based PE firm Vistria is already a big player in the home care and hospice space. Its portfolio, for example, includes St. Croix Hospice, Agape Care and Civitas Solutions.

Broadly, the firm’s purchase of Help at Home was an opportunity to further bolster the delivery of care in the home, according to David Schuppan, a senior partner at Vistria.

“Help at Home is a leader in what is an important trend in health care and one that’s consistent with a theme we’ve been exploring, which is the support of seniors and others with complex conditions in their preferred home- and community-based setting,” Schuppan told Home Health Care News in an email. “We think there’s tremendous societal and economic value creation here.”

With offices in New York and London, Centerbridge Partners is a private investment management firm that has $26 billion in capital under management. Centerbridge had previously worked with Vistria to acquire Civitas as part of a $1.4 billion deal that closed in March 2019.

“We are excited to have completed the acquisition of Help at Home, a trusted provider of care solutions that empowers individuals to live life on their own terms with support from highly trained, compassionate and dependable caregivers,” Jeremy Gelber, senior managing director at Centerbridge, said in a press release. “As we move forward, we will partner with Paul and the talented Help at Home team to expand access to the company’s services as the company continues to deploy its resources and expertise to deliver unsurpassed care.”

Help at Home and Centerbridge both declined to comment for this story.

While financial terms of the transaction were not publicly disclosed, PE Hub previously reported on a rumored deal between Help at Home, Vistria and Centerbridge in September. At the time, PE Hub reported the deal was for $1.4 billion.

Now officially in the books, Vistria and Centerbridge’s play for Help at Home adds to what has been an increasingly active M&A market.

The second quarter of 2020 saw the lowest number of home health, home care and hospice transactions since the end of 2017, according to data from M&A advisory firm Mertz Taggart. Q3, however, saw at least 25 total transactions.

“I’ve been selling home health agencies since 2006, and can’t recall a time when demand has been higher,” Mertz Taggart Managing Partner Cory Mertz told HHCN early in October. “Since July, we have received more calls from both strategic and financial buyers looking for home health than I can ever recall in a three- or four-month period.”

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