SJ Berwin scoops finance role on private equity exit

SJ Berwin has scooped a lead role advising on a key acquisition in the healthcare and fitness sector.

The firm, led by finance partner Stuart Brinkworth, advised banks Barclays and RBS on healthcare operator Nuffield Hospital’s £170m acquisition of fitness centre chain Canons from RBS private equity.

Brinkworth commented: “The deal is interesting given the current climate. Private equity has been extremely active in recent years but this may be hampered by volatility in the market. It is possible that trade acquisitions such as this could see a comeback and we may see a trend develop.”

A number of private equity houses have expressed interest in Canons since the private equity arm of RBS backed a management buy-out of the chain five years ago. LA Fitness owner MidOcean Partners was among the interested parties.

Nuffield was advised by CMS Cameron McKenna corporate finance partner David Day and finance partner Andrew Ivison. The management team at Canons turned to Berwin Leighton Paisner partner Andrew Sherratt while RBS private equity instructed Macfarlanes partner Howard Corney.