FRANKFURT Oct 11 Rhoen-Klinikum
shareholder B. Braun won antitrust approval for raising its
stake in the German hospital operator to 25 percent, the
country's Federal Cartel Office said late on Friday
Medical supplies maker B. Braun had last month requested
regulatory approval as it was seeking to put more weight behind
its opposition against a takeover of Rhoen by rival healthcare
group Fresenius but the two have in the meantime
outflanked B. Braun by agreeing on the sale of most of Rhoen's
hospitals to Fresenius.
A spokeswoman for B. Braun declined to say on Friday whether
B. Braun would still go ahead and raise its stake in Rhoen, even
after the target company agreed to divest hospitals accounting
for about two thirds of its revenues.
B. Braun, a rival of Fresenius in the hospital equipment
market, bought a 5 percent stake in Rhoen last year, which
initially thwarted Fresenius's ambition to create the biggest
private German hospital operator.
Rhoen's bylaws require an unusually high shareholder
acceptance rate of more than 90 percent for any takeover of the
B. Braun, owned by the family of Chairman Ludwig Georg
Braun, competes with Fresenius in hospital equipment, such as
intravenous and tube feeding supplies. It was concerned it would
lose Rhoen as a major client should Fresenius take it over,
sources have said.
Rhoen Chairman and founder Eugen Muench, who had campaigned
for the merger with Fresenius, hammered out a deal to sell large
parts of Rhoen's business to Fresenius instead, saying such a
deal would not require a shareholder vote.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Frank Siebelt; editing by