February 20, 2014 / 12:40 PM / 4 years ago

Antitrust watchdog clears Fresenius purchase of Rhoen hospitals

FRANKFURT, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Germany’s antitrust watchdog gave its nod to the purchase of most of Rhoen-Klinikum hospitals by diversified healthcare group Fresenius after some houses were excluded from the deal, the two companies said in separate statements.

The watchdog, the Federal Cartel Office, said on Thursday the planned cooperation between Fresenius and what remains of Rhoen will be assessed separately.

Rhoen-Klinikum said that a large part of the up to 1.9 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in proceeds that had been earmarked for distribution to shareholders would be paid out in 2014, “preferably by means of a share repurchase.”

It added the transaction will for the most part be closed until end of February.

The deal cleared by the Federal Cartel Office covers 40 hospitals and 13 outpatient facilities for a purchase price of about 3 billion euros.

Fresenius had initially planned to buy 43 hospitals and 15 outpatient facilities for 3.07 billion euros. ($1 = 0.7271 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger)

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