A private equity firm has announced its acquisition of the UK's biggest care services firm looking after adults with severe learning disabilities.
Anglo-American buyout firm GI Partners has bought Care Aspirations, which is based in Colchester, Essex, for an undisclosed fee.
The firm's services are funded by the NHS and include residential and day care for patients who need 24-hour care with conditions including epilepsy, autism and Asperger's syndrome.
The buyout is the latest move by private equity firms into an area seen as a defensive investment in the current economic climate as the government outsources more mental healthcare into the private sector.
Care Aspirations has seen revenues double in the past two-and-half years, with occupancy rates of around 100%. It was established in 1986, and was family-owned until the new deal, which is thought to value the company at up to £70m.
Saleem Asaria, who has been appointed as chairman of the firm, said Care Aspirations "provides the ideal springboard for our growth strategy".
GI Partners managing director Alfred Foglio added: "We are very pleased with the acquisition. The business leads with operational excellence, its customers recognise this fact and everything else falls into place."