Healthscope says Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management intends to proceed with its $4.5 billion takeover offer, sending the hospital operator’s shares sharply higher.
Healthscope shares climbed as much as 6.55 per cent in early trading against the backdrop of a further potential bidding war between Brookfield and a consortium led by Australian private equity firm BGH Capital.
Brookfield had confirmed it had ‘no reason to believe it would not be willing and able to proceed with the proposal for acquisition of all shares in Healthscope … ‘ the target company said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Healthscope said rival bidder BGH Capital and its partners had indicated they would commence due diligence for their $2.36 per share bid made in October.
Australia’s second-biggest private hospital operator said it would consider the correspondence from the BGH consortium.
Last month, Healthscope said it had provided due diligence materials to Brookfield after picking the Canadian investment firm’s higher offer of $2.585 per share over BGH’s bid, which valued the company at $4.1 billion.
Melbourne-based Healthscope’s profits have been falling as the number of Australians taking out private health cover has stalled.
But the company’s large hospital property portfolio has made it an attractive target for suitors looking at Australia’s ageing population as a source of long-term growth.