Harper Macleod LLP, one of Scotland's largest law firms, and Accountants and business advisers, PKF have advised on a multi-million pound deal in which private equity backed fertility group Academic Reproductive Partnership (ARP) has acquired a majority stake in the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine (GCRM) Limited, creating the largest single provider of both NHS and private IVF services in the UK.
This is ARP's third partnership in the UK having already merged with IVF Hammersmith and the Oxford Fertility Unit, with GCRM being the latest stage in an expansion of their services across the country.
This merger will give patients access to the very latest fertility treatment techniques. They will also benefit from the sharing of best practice and scientific resources by teams across the UK who are at the pinnacle of the assisted reproduction sector.
GCRM was established in 2006 and operates from a modern purpose built facility in Glasgow with a satellite clinic in Edinburgh, employing a team of 45 people spread across both locations. The company offers state-of-the art fertility treatments for the growing number of UK adults requiring assistance with fertility and continues to achieve particularly impressive success rates.
Three of the four GCRM shareholders have retained a significant stake in the business and remain committed to growing and developing the company further.
The network of staff and skills within ARP creates a broadening of opportunities for training and development which will enhance services for patients. In particular, the Oxford unit runs a number of internationally renowned training courses, with outstanding facilities, which all group members will have access to.
Paul Mitchell is Managing Director at GCRM Ltd: "GCRM has gone from strength to strength over the past six years and in terms of business development, this was the next logical step. This will provide the platform we need to ensure GCRM continues to provide the very best care for its patients".
Harper Macleod LLP has worked with GCRM since its inception and advised the business over the last six years. Partner in the Business Advisory Sector team, Paula Skinner says the growth of GCRM hasn't been a surprise: "We've been fortunate to work and advise the GCRM team since 2006 when they were starting their business and their achievements are the result of hard work and careful planning.
"The deal with ARP will allow the business to continue growing, while building on the reputation and success that has made them a major force in IVF."
Craig Martin, Corporate Finance Director with PKF, explains: "This deal will secure the next step in the continued growth of GCRM, as part of the largest fertility group in the UK. The team will be able to offer continued improvements in the quality of patient care and clinical success which will enhance and develop the business over the next few years."
"The larger firm will also be able to market and expand its services more effectively. In such a specialist sector it is essential that expansion is encouraged sensitively and strategically. The acquisition by ARP will ensure that the Scottish business can grow at a rate which can meet demand."
NHS figures estimate that 3.5m people in the UK will have trouble conceiving and for couples who have been trying to conceive for more than three years without success, the likelihood of pregnancy occurring within the next year is 25% or less.
The private market has increased rapidly over the last five years as demand has outstripped NHS budgets which have increasingly been limited for fertility treatments. The UK fertility market is estimated to be worth £550m annually, with over 50,000 IVF cycles performed annually, and 75% of those within the private sector. It is expected, therefore, that growth will increase in the fertility sector.