-ATIN- -7/17/08 – Acquisitive CRC Health Corp. has purchased Echo Malibu, one of the nation’s top providers of private pay addiction treatment services for youths and adolescents, according to CRC CEO Barry Karlin, who said the deal closed Tuesday.

“We are very excited at this acquisition,” Karlin told ATIN. “Echo Malibu is a premier treatment facility for adolescents and is an important addiction to CRC’s adolescent treatment programs.” Karlin added that CRC plans to “leverage” Echo Malibu’s ‘best practices” treatment services across the country with the goal of “enhancing the availablity of high quality adolescent treatment programs on a broader basis.”

CRC already is by far the nation’s largest provider of high-end private pay behavioral health services to youths and adolescents, largely through the company’s 2006 purchase of Aspen Education, a pioneer in the therapeutic schools and wilderness programs sector. From the above comment, it is clear Karlin wishes to integrate Echo Malibu into CRC’s overall youth treatment offerings.

No doubt Echo Malibu founders Jeff Nalin and Cole Rucker have done very well by the sale of the center they founded about five years ago. But, if word on the street is correct, CRC paid about 5x to 6x cash flow for Echo Malibu, which is a strong multiple but not among the very highest that have been paid in the treatment industry in recent years. ATIN West Coast sources say that the bidding for Echo Malibu was lively, with four bidders ofering to buy the 6-bed residential and 10-bed extended care youth services provider.

Among the bidders, according to sources, was Subacute Holdings, the Frazier Healthcare backed enitity that earlier this year acquired pioneering Malibu high-end center Promises.

Newswire Staff

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