GHO Capital Buys DNA Diagnostics Center for $118 Million

  • London-based health-care investor is making first acquisition
  • Co-founder Mortimer says firm has more deals in the pipeline

GHO Capital Partners, a London-based investor in health-care assets, is buying specialist testing company DNA Diagnostics Center Inc. of the U.S. for 104 million euros ($118 million), according to a statement from the company.

This is the first acquisition for GHO Capital, which was founded last year and raised an initial 400 million-euro fund in June. The company has more transactions in the pipeline, Mike Mortimer, executive partner and co-founder of the investment firm, said in a phone interview.

DDC, based in Fairfield, Ohio, makes DNA tests for paternity, immigration, veterinary and forensic cases, among others. GHO Capital plans to help the company, which employs 245 people, mostly based in the U.S., “grow enormously” in Europe, Mortimer said. No further details of the deal were disclosed.

 “It’s a great opportunity to buy a strong, fast-growing U.S. business and add a big international leg to it,” said Mortimer, who led the transaction together with Mark Braganza, an executive partner. “It’s one of the few businesses in DNA testing that’s actually large and profitable.”

GHO Capital is led by five health-care professionals with experience in industries from private equity to investment banking. Mortimer, 55, was previously an executive vice president at Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc., which he joined after 10 years at Charles Schwab Corp. Co-founders include Andrea Ponti, who helped build Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s European health-care investment banking teams.

GHO Capital focuses on investments in areas including specialty pharma, generics, animal health, over-the-counter and wellness businesses, medical devices and diagnostics.

The investor is looking for businesses it can expand in Europe and elsewhere in the world, either organically or through a “buy and build” strategy, Ponti said during the same interview. There will also be opportunities for DDC to grow through acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe in years to come, he said.

GHO Capital is eager to make more investments, Mort

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