The Priory Group
Country United Kingdom
Sector Healthcare
Deal type Buyout
Investment date July 2008 (Craegmoor Group), March 2011 (The Priory Group)
Status Realized investment
Exit method Sale to Acadia Group (Dec 2015)

Priory is the UK’s leading independent provider of integrated behavioral healthcare, specialist education and social care. The company treats over 70 conditions at its network of 420 facilities. Headquartered in London, Priory employs 20,000 people.

Advent International purchased Priory from the Royal Bank of Scotland in March 2011.


As one of the UK’s premier healthcare providers, Priory had built a reputation for delivering high-quality services and outcomes.

In assessing the investment, Advent identified a supply-side shift in inpatient behavioural healthcare provision, as National Health Service (NHS) bed numbers declined at 3% p.a. and commissioners increasingly referred patients to high quality independent providers of care. Priory, as market leader with a wide service offering across Adult and Children’s care, was well positioned to meet this demand.

"Our basic thesis was that the NHS would increasingly look for support from providers like Priory to deliver high-quality inpatient care,” said Tom Allen, a managing director at Advent in London. “We considered Priory, the market leader in self-pay behavioral health, to be ideally situated to become a partner of choice for NHS commissioners."



At the heart of our investment strategy was the belief that Priory’s commercial success centred on delivering excellent care. During our ownership, we supported significant investment in upgrading facilities, acknowledging that high quality environments are important for the recovery of service users. Such endeavours ensured that the company achieved record occupancy levels, hitting over 85% during our ownership period.

There was a renewed focus on quality, compliance and safety and as a result, during our ownership, the Priory achieved major improvements in Care Quality Commission ratings.

At the same time, revenue growth rates increased every year and grew by a total of 25% during our ownership period.


Soon after we completed the acquisition, we moved quickly to help Priory strengthen its capabilities. A key component of our value-creation plan was to consolidate the UK’s fragmented behavioral healthcare sector to create an integrated provider of health and social care. The first company Priory acquired, in April 2011, was Craegmoor, another specialized care services provider owned by Advent.

Already deep into our growth plan at Craegmoor, we saw that the business was a natural fit for Priory. The acquisition supplemented Priory’s range of services and diversified its revenue base. By adding specialist learning disability and autism care (Craegmoor’s strengths) as a new division, Priory extended its existing care pathways. Building on the success of this merger, we supported Priory in making eight further tuck-in acquisitions to solidify the company’s market position.

These M&A initiatives, supported by organic growth developments enabled the Priory to build a comprehensive suite of behavioural healthcare services. Another important facet of this strategy was the entry into the private pay market. Recognizing that this was a growing, but underserved market, the Priory opened four private pay clinics across the UK during our investment period.

In 2016, following a period of sustained growth Advent exited the investment to Acadia Healthcare, a leading provider of behavioral healthcare services in the US. Acadia had existing facilities in the UK, and was looking to combine these with Priory. The rationale for this combination was to further strengthen Priory’s network of services, with clinical expertise, strong operations and high-quality care delivery.

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