MILAN Australia's Ramsay Health Care (RHC.AX) is aiming to gain a majority stake in French private healthcare group Generale de Sante (GDSF.PA) via a joint bid that values the company at around 910 million euros ($1.25 billion).
Italy's DeA Capital (DEA.MI), which controls Generale de Sante through its Sante and Sante Development Europe units, said on Monday the Australian healthcare group and Credit Agricole Assurances (CAGR.PA) had made joint offer for 83.43 percent of the company.
The offer price of 16.75 euros a share represents an 8 percent premium to Friday's official closing price of 15.5 euros.
By 3.46 a.m. EDT shares in Generale de Sante rose 5.9 percent to 16.42 euros. Shares in DeA Capital also gained sharply and were up 4.7 percent at 1.439 euros each.
DeA Capital said that bidders had until June 6 to conduct an exclusive due diligence on Generale de Sante before making a binding offer at the same price.
One analyst who declined to be named said Ramsay had sufficient funds to go ahead with the deal without raising capital.
Generale de Sante, which employs 19,000 people at 75 facilities including private hospitals and clinics, had revenues of 1.87 billion euros in 2013, down 3 percent from a year earlier.
DeA Capital, which is part of Italian conglomerate De Agostini, took over General de Sante in 2007. Other main shareholders are Italian businessman Antonino Ligresti and merchant bank Mediobanca (MDBI.MI). ($1 = 0.7269 Euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za, additional reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; editing by Lisa Jucca and Jane Merriman)