* B. Braun wins blocking minority with 11 pct stake
* Was opposed to takeover by Fresenius
* Rhoen agreed to sell most hospitals to Fresenius
* B. Braun says wants two supervisory board seats at Rhoen
(Adds comments by B. Braun, Fresenius)
FRANKFURT, Oct 15 German medical supplies maker
B. Braun has taken a minority blocking stake in Rhoen-Klinikum
, it was announced on Tuesday, complicating a battle
for control of the hospitals chain which wants to sell most of
its assets to rival Fresenius for nearly 3.1 billion
euros ($4.1 billion).
B. Braun has raised its stake in Rhoen-Klinikum to 11
percent from a previous holding of 5 percent.
This gives B. Braun the right to veto major strategic
decisions such as a takeover of the group because Rhoen's bylaws
require an unusually high approval rate of more than 90 percent
of the shareholder capital for such moves.
Braun is concerned that it would lose Rhoen as a major
customer were Fresenius and Rhoen to merge, while unlisted
hospitals chain Asklepios, owner of a 5.01 percent stake in
Rhoen, has also sought to block a deal, fearing the emergence of
a dominant rival.
Fresenius competes with B. Braun, owned by the family of
Chairman Ludwig Georg Braun, in supplying medical equipment to
In a statement on Tuesday, Rhoen-Klinikum said it was
informed that B. Braun intends to further increase its stake in
the company within the next 12 months.
Last week B. Braun won antitrust approval for raising its
stake in Rhoen to 25 percent, the country's Federal Cartel
B. Braun also said in a statement on Tuesday it had filed a
request with a court to have two representatives on Rhoen's
supervisory board, seeking to fill the seats that were vacated
by the resignation of two board members last month.
"B. Braun continues to pursue the strategic goal of securing
the long-term position of minority shareholdings," the company
Rhoen's chairman and founder Eugen Muench, who last year
failed to overcome opposition from B. Braun and Asklepios to an
outright sale to Fresenius, instead hammered out a deal in
September to sell hospitals accounting for about two thirds of
Rhoen's revenues to Fresenius for 3.07 billion euros.
Muench and Fresenius have said that unlike a full takeover
the sale by Rhoen of most of its hospitals to Fresenius does not
require a shareholder vote at Rhoen.
Spokesmen for Fresenius and Rhoen declined to comment
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Edward Taylor and Frank Siebelt;
Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Greg Mahlich)