Medical equipment supplier Medline sells majority stake to private equity investors for over $30B

A drawer of medical supplies
The family-owned company, which brought in $17.5 billion in revenue last year, said it will be using to proceeds of the deal to expand its offerings and international presence. (Getty/XiXinXing)

Medical equipment and supply manufacturer Medline Industries has agreed to receive a majority investment from three private equity firms in a deal expected to close in late 2021, the companies announced this weekend.

The news comes about a month and a half after rumors swirled that the Northfield, Illinois-based supplier was seeking a $30 billion sale.

That search appears to have led the company to a consortium of funds managed by Blackstone, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman. GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, was also named as a partner in the investment.

The weekend’s announcement did not place a price tag on the deal, although The Wall Street Journal reported a transaction value of roughly $34 billion including debt based on its conversations with anonymous sources. Other reports from financial media outlets have similarly placed the investments in the neighborhood of $30 billion or more.

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While the new investors will collectively own a majority share in the company, Medline’s founding family will remain its largest single shareholder. Senior management, including CEO Charlie Mills, will remain in their current positions.

“The Mills family has built an exceptional business, and we are proud to partner with them and Medline’s management to support the company’s continued strong growth,” Joe Baratta, global health of private equity at Blackstone, said in a statement. “Large corporate partnerships with family-led companies are an area where we have deep experience and we look forward to investing in Medline’s further expansion.”

Medline is a private manufacturer and distributor of medical supply products for general medicine, specialty medicine, healthcare administrators and consumers. Its broad variety of products include sterile gloves, surgical blades, lab equipment, office supplies and wheelchairs, to name a few.

The company is primarily active in North America, where it runs more than 20 manufacturing sites, but the company said its business reaches more than 110 countries worldwide. Founded by brothers Jim Mills and Jon Mills in 1966, it has grown over the decades to claim $17.5 billion in revenue during 2020 alone.

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Medline said that it plans to further expand its product offerings with the proceeds of the deal. It’s also looking to beef up its international business and improve its global supply chain with new infrastructure investments, according to the announcement.

“This investment from some of the world’s most experienced and successful private investment firms will enable us to accelerate that strategy while preserving the family-led culture that is core to our success,” CEO Charlie Mills said in a statement.

The past year has seen Medline ramp up its domestic operations centered on pandemic-related products such as hand sanitizer and face masks, but the company has recently unveiled a few other investments focused on growing its business. These include a late-April announcement earmarking $1.5 billion toward U.S. supply chain expansion and a May acquisition beefing up its portfolio of respiratory health products.