HCA among bidders for Australia's Healthscope: report

Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:44pm EDT

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(Reuters) - HCA Holdings Inc (HCA.N) is among the bidders for Australian hospital operator Healthscope Ltd, which has put itself up for sale, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday.

HCA, the largest for-profit U.S. hospital operator, is competing against Malaysia's IHH, which is being advised by JPMorgan and CIMB, and at least one other potential Asian buyer, according to the report.

Healthscope is seeking bids by the end of April or early May, the paper said.

The company is considering three options for a sale process to cash in on current strong demand for quality healthcare assets, Healthscope managing director Rob Cooke told Reuters in January. He identified those as an initial public offering, trade buyer or property trust.

Healthscope owns 44 private hospitals in Australia and pathology operations in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand. Private equity firm TPG and the Carlyle Group (CG.O), which beat KKR in 2010 in bidding for Healthscope, each own 50 percent of the company.

(Reporting by Susan Kelly in Chicago; Editing by Tom Brown)

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