CVC in talks to join KKR bid for Healthscope-sources
MELBOURNE, June 1
MELBOURNE, June 1 (Reuters) - Private equity firm CVC Asia-Pacific is in talks with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co [KKR.UL] about joining KKR's $1.5 billion bid for Healthscope HSP.AX, two sources familiar with the situation said.
"At this stage they are not together, but it is highly likely they will be," a source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the confidential nature of the subject, told Reuters on Tuesday.
A second source said CVC had indicated it would join KKR, which is doing due diligence on Healthscope, Australia's second-largest hospital owner.
A private equity bidding war for Healthscope erupted on Monday when KKR and another unnamed firm -- reported by Australian media as U.S-based Tenet Healthcare Corp (THC.N) -- made two separate offers, both valuing Healthscope at A$1.84 billion ($1.54 billion). [ID:nSGE64U00N]
The Monday offers topped a May 14, A$1.74 billion offer from a private equity consortium of Blackstone Group LP (BX.N), TPG [TPG.UL] and Carlyle [CYL.UL].
Healthscope has not named the bidders.
Spokespeople for Healthscope and private equity firm KKR declined to comment. A spokesman for CVC did not return a call seeking comment.
CVC already owns Australia's largest private diagnostic imaging business, which it bought as DCA Group in 2006 and has renamed I-MED.
Healthscope has an in-hospital radiology business, which analysts said could offer synergies with I-MED.
Australia's ageing population and a government push to increase private health insurance are benefiting healthcare firms in the country, and the interest in Healthscope from four of the world's biggest private-equity groups highlights the attractiveness of the business.
At 0556 GMT, Healthscope shares traded 1.5 percent higher at A$5.57, while the broader market .AXJO was down 0.6 percent.
KKR is being advised by Morgan Stanley.
Macquarie <MQG.AX) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) are advising the TPG and Carlyle consortium, while Blackstone is being advised by UBS UBSN.VX.