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Livingbridge invests in Australian GP market

Livingbridge, a mid-market private equity investor, has invested in two Australian GP groups, Better Medical and SmartClinics.

The transaction will facilitate the combination of two highly complementary businesses to create the fifth-largest general practice platform in Australia with 64 clinics and approximately 450 doctors practicing from their locations across Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Both businesses have the shared vision of creating an environment for doctors to deliver high quality primary health care to their patients. The importance of clinical quality and excellence is deeply embedded in the philosophies of each of them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been an important reminder of the critical nature of co-ordinated primary care at the front-line of Australia’s healthcare ecosystem. This will only become more important as Australia’s population ages.
The investment will support the ability of the combined group to invest in better quality services for doctors and patients alike. It will also facilitate the continued expansion of the network throughout Australia through partnership with other likeminded clinics.
The group will be led by Jeremy Stones, CEO of Better Medical. Existing shareholders from both businesses, including doctors and management will be investing alongside Livingbridge, providing continuity. Genesis Capital, majority shareholder in Smart Clinics, is also excited to continue as a significant on-going shareholder alongside Livingbridge with Partner Dr Michael Caristo joining the combined businesses’ Board.
This investment is a continuation of Livingbridge’s track record in the healthcare sector, having completed over 25 investments globally. This includes the 2018 investment in Habit Health, New Zealand’s largest independent provider of rehabilitation and occupational health services. Livingbridge will draw on its global healthcare experience to support the growth of the combined business, while maintaining the highest levels of quality of care.
William Bajraszewski at Livingbridge, says: “In combining Better Medical and SmartClinics we have created a significant positive force in the Australian general practice market. We look forward to partnering with the management team to deliver an ambitious organic and acquisitive growth plan.”
Jeremy Stones, CEO of Better Medical, says: “We are delighted to be joining forces with SmartClinics; our complementary strengths and shared values position us favourably in the market. We look forward to working with the Livingbridge team on this next stage in our evolution. Their knowledge and expertise in scaling businesses will be invaluable as we continue to expand our network of clinics across the rest of the country.”  
Dr Michael Caristo at Genesis Capital, adds: “The combination of SmartClinics with Better Medical will facilitate investment to ensure more patients can receive the high quality care both businesses are known for. We are excited at the prospect of working with our new colleagues and investors to improve the quality of GP services provided to doctors and other health professionals in Australia.”
Lazard acted as financial adviser and Herbert Smith Freehills acted as legal adviser to Livingbridge. Smart Clinics and Better Medical were advised by Gilbert + Tobin and Talbot Sayer. 

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