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Four Seasons for sale

October 30, 2019

After months of uncertainty, the care home portfolio of major operator Four Seasons Health Care has been placed on the market.

US hedge fund H/2 Capital Partners, which is in effective control of the group, has put Four Seasons up for sale, replacing the company’s senior management: Ben Taberner, Dr Claire Royston and Tim Hammond – Four Seasons’ finance chief, medical director and chief executive respectively – have all been removed from the board, but remain in place to carry out day to day duties. Former Barchester Healthcare chairman Baroness Margaret Ford and Mark Ordan have been appointed to the board.

“These changes have been made in furtherance of an independent sales process and facilitate such a process taking place,” Four Seasons said on Monday, adding that a “transparent arm’s length sales process for the sale of all or substantially all of the assets of the group” is under way.

The decision to offer its 343 care homes for sale comes after the care homes giant, which is still nominally owned by Guy Hands’ private equity vehicle Terra Firma, failed to pay off a portion of debt owed to H/2. As its principal creditor, the American hedge fund, run by Spencer Haber, now holds sway over the firm’s assets and controls the group.

On top of cuts in local authority fees, rising costs and the introduction of the national living wage, Four Seasons is struggling under a £500 million-plus mountain of debt, which is controlled by H/2 and other bondholders, who are also thought to have sanctioned the sale.

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