German prosecutors close probe into Rhoen's failed sell-off

FRANKFURT Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:38am EDT

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FRANKFURT Oct 16 (Reuters) - German prosecutors are dropping an investigation into suspected market manipulation linked to the healthcare group Fresenius's attempt last year to buy the Rhoen-Klinikum hospital chain, a spokesman for Rhoen's chairman said on Wednesday.

In July, Eugen Muench, the founder and chairman of Rhoen, filed a criminal complaint against the owner of the rival Asklepios group, which last year thwarted Rhoen's plans to sell itself to Fresenius.

In legal documents seen by Reuters, prosecutors said there were no grounds to further investigate accusations of market manipulation and attempted coercion that Muench had made against Asklepios owner Bernard Broermann and some Asklepios executives.

The probe related to Asklepios, which is unlisted, buying a stake in Rhoen after Fresenius made its takeover offer.

In the meantime, Rhoen has agreed to sell most of its hospitals to Fresenius for 3.07 billion euros ($4.1 billion), in an attempt by Muench to circumvent opposition to an outright sale of the company.

The prosecutors were not immediately available for comment. An Asklepios spokesman declined to comment.

Muench's spokesman said Muench had not yet decided whether to appeal. (Reporting by Frank Siebelt and Ludwig Burger; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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