February 1, 2019 / 1:03 AM / 5 months ago

Australia's Healthscope recommends Brookfield deal, shares surge

(Reuters) - Australian hospital operator Healthscope Ltd said on Friday it had recommended a A$4.35 billion ($3.2 billion) takeover offer from Canadian investment firm Brookfield, taking its shares to an eight-month high.

After months of negotiations and counter bids from a rival consortium, Healthscope said it had entered a scheme of arrangement with Brookfield under which the Canadian company was offering A$2.5 for each share in Healthscope, slightly less than the A$2.585 per share it had offered in December.

Brookfield said it had also launched an off-market takeover offer for Healthscope for about A$2.4 per share.

Brookfield had topped an offer from a consortium backed by Australian private-equity firm BGH Capital and AustralianSuper. Healthscope had then agreed to indulge in due diligence with Brookfield.

Healthscope separately said the BGH Consortium had indicated it could improve its offer.

Healthscope’s shares were as much as 3.8 percent higher at A$2.45, out-performing the broader market.

The company also said it had entered agreements to sell 22 properties to Medical Properties Trust and Northwest Healthcare Properties for about A$2.5 billion, on the condition that ownership of Healthscope passed to Brookfield.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates

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