Medical equipment supplier Medline exploring potential $30B sale: media report

Medical equipment and supply manufacturer Medline Industries is exploring a potential sale valued as high as $30 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with the proceedings, the report suggests that a large leveraged buyout is the most likely approach, although the plans could also shift toward an initial public offering or minority investment.

The sources said that private equity investors would be better suited than industry competitors to make a bid due to Medline’s size, and floated Blackstone Group, KKR and Carlyle Group among the names of expected bidders.

Goldman Sachs has been hired to run the sale process, they said. Medline did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Based in Northfield, Illinois, Medline says it’s the largest private manufacturer and distributor of medical supply products for general medicine, specialty medicine, consumers and administrators. Example products include sterile gloves, wheelchairs, surgical blades, needles, lab equipment and office supplies.

The company runs more than 20 manufacturing sites across North America, does business in more than 125 countries, staffs over 27,000 employees worldwide and counts $17.5 billion in overall company sales, per an online fact sheet. Among the customers highlighted on its website are Advent Health, CVS Pharmacy, Mercy Health, Geisinger, Sutter Health and University of Washington Medical Center.

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Medline has largely stayed under the eyes of its founding family over the decades. Brothers Jim Mills and Jon Mills started the business in 1966, according to the company, with Jim’s son Charlie Mills holding the CEO position since 1997.

Some of Medline’s products have been in particularly high demand as a result of COVID-19.

In April 2020 the company announced plans to expand production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in response to supply shortages.

It similarly ramped up operations beginning in November to manufacture face masks in North America for the first time. The company noted that more than 30 providers had signed on to purchase the 36 million masks per month it would be producing once its production lines were fully operational in 2021.