In 2002, Sovereign backed the MBO of Choice, which provides specialist care and support for people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health conditions and associated complex needs. At the end of our investment Choice had grown to become one of the UK's leading specialist providers in this area and operated 47 homes.
Community Homes of Intensive Care and Education (Choice) was founded in 1992. Ten years on, the owners started to look for an external investor that could support Choice's management team – both financially and strategically – to expand the business, while enabling them to retire.
When considering which investor to work with, Choice's owners were unanimous in their priorities – the investor had to:
Sovereign structured a deal that enabled the owners to retire and the existing management team to expand the company further to meet the increasing demand for its high-quality services from commissioners.
The transaction included initial funds to support the management buy-out and additional development capital to fund organic growth and acquisitions through Buy & Build.
Sovereign worked with Choice to develop a growth strategy that would enable the group to expand while maintaining, and enhancing, the standards of care for which it had become known. This involved both opening new homes and purchasing complementary care businesses. Sovereign provided the finance, handled the acquisitions and oversaw the strategy, whilst the management team continued to run day-to-day operations.
Three high-quality companies were purchased, enabling Choice to offer a care pathway, from residential care through to supported living. Alongside these acquisitions, Choice opened a total of 25 new homes in Berkshire and neighbouring counties. In line with best practice, these were small homes, with an average of seven to eight occupants.
When Sovereign originally invested Choice operated eight homes with a combined total of 65 beds. By exit, Choice:
Sovereign understood our market and shared our commitment to governance which has underpinned our focus on delivering high-quality care.
Edwina Johnston / CEO