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Exclusive: Court Square buys West Coast Dental

Sarah Pringle
Jul 11, 2022
Illustration of a mouth mirror with Benjamin Franklin's face reflected in it.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Court Square Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in founder-owned West Coast Dental, the firm tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Dental is one of the earliest physician practice management plays for private equity—but the sector's fragmentation, steady and repeat customer base, and an aging population yield continued white space for well-run, scaled platforms, says Court Square Partner Jeff Abramoff.

  • Court Square plans to turbocharge new de novo clinic openings at Los Angeles-based WCD, invest into digital marketing, and fuel an M&A playbook both within California and potentially neighboring states.

Details: The deal concludes a SVB Securities-run sale process that Axios scooped in January, with multiple bidders at the end, sources say. Harris Williams advised Court Square.

  • Court Square declined to comment on financials, besides citing its typical enterprise value range of $150 million to $1 billion for platforms; Sources tell Sarah the deal was valued upwards of $250 million, implying a low double-digit multiple of more than $20 million of EBITDA.
  • WCD founders Dr. Farid Pakravan, Dr. Soleyman Cohen Sedgh and Dr. Farhad Manavi will remain investors alongside Court Square, while Payam Sohrab will continue to lead the company as CEO.
  • WCD has 40 multi-specialty dental and orthodontic offices across California, employing 130-plus general and specialist dentists.

Backstory: WCD marks Court Square's return to dental, coming nearly a decade after the firm sold another California-centric player — Western Dental Services — to New Mountain Capital.

  • "Since then we've been looking to find another dental platform to back," Abramoff says, noting Court Square's experience diligencing dental companies was handy when it found what it liked.
  • The PE firm didn't have a direct relationship with West Coast executives but there were some mutual relationships given CEO Payam Sohrab previously spent nearly two decades at Western Dental.
  • WCD also aligns with Court Square's preference for founder-owned companies, which represent approximately 72% of Fund 3 and Fund 4 investments.
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