Rhoen in talks to settle rift with shareholders
FRANKFURT Nov 18 (Reuters) - German hospitals chain Rhoen-Klinikum is in talks to settle a row with dissident shareholders who have fought a tie-up with diversified healthcare group Fresenius, two of the companies involved said on Monday.
Fresenius last year tried to take over Rhoen but failed after two shareholders weighed in. In September, it agreed to buy about two thirds of Rhoen's assets in a deal it said does not require shareholder approval.
Rhoen shareholder B. Braun, a medical supplies maker who had opposed the initial Fresenius-Rhoen tie-up, last month lifting its stake in Rhoen to an 11 percent blocking minority, raising questions about his motives.
A spokesman for Fresenius and a spokeswoman for B. Braun told Reuters that four-way talks with Fresenius and another Rhoen shareholder, hospitals chain Asklepios, were underway in an attempt to settle the acrimonious dispute.
Talks between the squabbling sides are ongoing but if they come to terms it would eliminate any uncertainty around the 3.1 billion euros ($4.2 billion) hospitals deal and would mend a rift that could potentially paralyse what remains of Rhoen.
A spokesman for Rhoen Chairman and founder Eugen Muench and an Asklepios spokesman both declined to comment. Rhoen had no immediate comment.
The Fresenius spokesman added that Fresenius's purchase of hospitals that account for about two thirds of Rhoen's revenues was on track and would not be called into question during the talks. (Editing by Maria Sheahan)