Abu Dhabi wealth fund, GIC join Medline buyout group

LONDON • The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is joining one of the biggest leveraged buyouts of all time by investing about US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) alongside a consortium acquiring medical supply company Medline Industries.

The world's third-biggest wealth fund, known as Adia, will back the takeover of Medline by Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified.

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC is also investing in the deal, which values Medline at more than US$30 billion.

A spokesman for Adia confirmed the investment in response to Bloomberg queries. Abu Dhabi's rainy-day fund has amassed just under US$700 billion in assets, according to estimates from Global SWF and the SWF Institute, with a mandate to funnel the government's oil surplus into foreign holdings.

Medline is the biggest private United States manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies like gloves, gowns and exam tables to hospitals and clinics.

The private equity consortium beat out Canadian investment giant Brookfield Asset Management, which was bidding on its own, to acquire the business.

Adia has been seeking to take advantage of the relationship it enjoys as a backer of some of the world's larger buyout firms and join in on more deals. Last year, it agreed to invest along with Advent International and Cinven on their US$19 billion buyout of Thyssenkrupp's lift unit. The fund was part of a consortium that bought Nestle's US$10 billion skincare business in 2019.

It is also Adia's second healthcare deal in quick succession. Last month, it took a minority stake in healthcare software provider Dedalus Holding from private equity company Ardian.

The sovereign fund has been building its own team of private equity professionals, which allows it to make more of its own direct investments. This month, it added another senior hire to its in-house data analysis and artificial intelligence team, set up to develop new investment strategies.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2021, with the headline 'Abu Dhabi wealth fund, GIC join Medline buyout group'. Subscribe