Private equity firms are keeping their eyes on dental

Private equity firms have shown a growing interest in dental the past few years, and it looks like they are here to stay.

Elliot Zibel, CEO and co-founder of Select Dental Management, spoke with Becker's on May 11 to discuss private equity firms' interest and success in dental.

Editor's note: This response has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What role do you think private equity will play in DSOs the next few years?

Elliot Zibel: When you look at dental, it remains one of the largest healthcare markets and it also remains one of the least consolidated, despite all the consolidation we've already seen. It feels like everybody is affiliated with a DSO, but in reality it's not the case. Depending on the numbers you look at and the regions, penetration can be as low as 15 percent or maybe in the 15 to 20 percent range.

I think most private equity groups have had success in dental; it's been a good asset class for private equity groups over time. Almost every private equity group in the healthcare business either owns a dental platform or is looking for one. I do think there's going to be continued availability of capital for dental and healthcare in general, but I think dental is one of the more attractive bases.

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