FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Unlisted German hospital chain Asklepios outlined plans to take over peer Rhoen Klinikum (RHKG.DE) in a 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) deal, a move that would help it compete with larger rival Helios, a unit of Fresenius (FREG.DE).
Asklepios, which already holds 28.7% of Rhoen’s shares, said on Friday it would initially buy a 12.4% stake from Rhoen founder Eugen Muench. The two would then pool Muench’s remaining stake of 7.6% in Rhoen with shares held by Asklepios.
As a result, their joint investment company would hold at least 49% in Rhoen.
Asklepios, which is owned by 76-year-old founder Bernard Broermann, will also make a takeover offer for all remaining shares in Rhoen for 18 euros apiece and intends to transfer these shares into the joint company, the hospital chain said.
The offer price of 18 euros per share is 22% above Thursday’s closing price of 14.72 euros.
A spokeswoman for Rhoen Klinikum declined to comment.
Rhoen, Asklepios and the larger Fresenius unit Helios compete as buyers of underfunded public-sector hospitals from debt-laden German municipalities.
Eugen Muench tried to sell Rhoen to Fresenius in 2012 but Broermann, fearing a dominant rival, amassed a big enough stake in Rhoen to block the deal, sparking a bitter feud between Broermann and Muench.
Fresenius still managed to bulk up by agreeing to buy about two thirds of Rhoen’s assets in a deal that did not require shareholder approval.
Reporting Alexander Huebner; Writing by Ludwig Burger and Tom Sims; Editing by Michelle Martin and Edmund Blair