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Independence Dental back on the block

Illustration of a mouth mirror with Benjamin Franklin's face reflected in it.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Firmament has hired Moelis to run a sale process for its portfolio company Independence Dental Services, as reported by Mergermarket and confirmed by Axios.

Why it matters: The DSO asset was on the block last year, only to be taken off. If the latest effort is successful, it would represent a rare exit in today's difficult LBO market.

Details: Moelis was just hired and materials have not been sent out yet, sources tell Axios.

  • Exact launch timing is TBD and dependent on market conditions, but an auction will likely be sponsor-focused, one source says.
  • The company generates more than $20 million in EBITDA, the source adds.
  • Independence Dental's EBITDA was pegged at the mid-teens of millions, per the Mergermarket report.

Flashback: Independence Dental was founded in 2020 in partnership with Firmament.

  • Independence was on the block via Cantor Fitzgerald and marketing itself off $40m in adjusted EBITDA, per Mergermarket.
  • No transaction was announced, but a handful of acquisitions in Independence's pipeline did not move forward, bringing the company's EBITDA down to its current level, that report says.

State of play: DSOs are still popular platform plays for private equity, with long-in-the-tooth assets primed for an exit, alongside businesses acquired more recently that may hit the block when market conditions allow.

  • Lightwave Dental is in the midst of a sale process and being marketed on around $40 million in EBITDA, Axios reported.
  • Core Equity-backed Portman Healthcare acquired U.K.-based Dentex Healthcare in August.
  • Main Post Partners and APG Partners acquired Firmament's stake in DSO GPS Dental in 2021.
  • Linden Capital acquired Sage Dental in 2012 and has since completed debt refinancings via Twin Brook Capital Partners, per PitchBook.
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