Malaysia’s IHH says Fortis board declines to engage on takeover offer

MUMBAI, April 16 — Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Bhd said today India’s Fortis Healthcare Ltd declined to engage with the company regarding a takeover offer, citing binding agreements with other parties.

IHH, one of Asia’s largest healthcare operators, offered to buy Fortis last week at a price that values the hospitals chain at about US$1.3 billion (RM5.1 billion) — higher than the roughly US$1.2 billion valuation an offer from Indian rival Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt Ltd gave it.

Some of Fortis’ minority shareholders are dissatisfied with the Manipal offer, and it is unclear if the IHH price appeals to them.

Shares of Fortis fell about 2 per cent today  after the announcement by IHH and were down 1.87 per cent around 0512 GMT, while trading in IHH shares listed in Kuala Lumpur was halted.

A merger with a hospitals chain such as Manipal might make more sense, said an analyst with a brokerage in Mumbai, adding that more details of the IHH offer were needed.

Fortis, which is under investigation over financial fraud, has seen interest from multiple parties since Manipal offered to buy it last month. Two Indian investors — Sunil Munjal’s Hero Enterprise and the Burman Family Office — offered last week to make an investment worth 12.5 billion rupees (US$191.5 million RM745 billion).

IHH said today Fortis indicated it was unable to engage due to binding agreements with Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Manipal Global Health Services and private equity firm TPG Asia.

The Malaysian firm had said last week in its proposal letter that it expected a response from Fortis before April 18.

“Given the everchanging competitive dynamics, IHH reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that the shareholders of Fortis are provided with the opportunity to realise the value inherent in our proposal,” IHH had said in the letter. — Reuters

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