One of Britain's biggest plastic surgery providers has been sold in a deal structured to shield it from a potential multimillion-pound tax bill.
Sky News understands that Harley Medical Group was offloaded by RCapital, a turnaround investor, to Skin, a private equity-backed chain of dermatology clinics.
Sources said on Friday that the sale to Skin had been undertaken through a pre-pack administration, handled by the accountancy firm BDO.
They added that the insolvency process was at least partially motivated by a desire to shield Harley Medical from a future VAT bill after a long-running row over the application of the tax to cosmetic surgery procedures.
Harley Medical, which trades from about 20 clinics in the UK, was acquired by Rcapital seven years ago.
It offers a range of cosmetic surgery procedures, as well as laser and skin treatment.
The company's takeover by Skin, which is backed by the private equity investor TriSpan, enables the formation of a larger medical services group.
Although the cosmetic surgery industry has grown rapidly in Britain over the last decade, figures produced by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in May revealed only a 0.1% increase in the number of procedures that took place last year.
TriSpan and Rcapital both declined to comment.