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(Reuters) - U.S. hospital operator Kindred Healthcare Inc (KND.N) said on Friday it was prepared to revise or withdraw its offer to buy Gentiva Health Services Inc GTIV.O, after reports that the home healthcare services provider may be trying to buy rival Amedisys Inc (AMED.O).
Kindred said in a letter that it was concerned about marketplace reports that Gentiva may be trying to acquire Amedisys Inc (AMED.O) while refusing to discuss Kindred's offer.
"The Gentiva board may be pursuing a course that would disenfranchise its shareholders through a value-destroying and highly levered transaction with Amedisys," Kindred said.
Earlier in the day, CRT Capital Research analyst Sheryl Skolnick commented in a note on Amedisys's unusual step of pre-releasing better-than-expected second-quarter results on Friday. She said that development made her "highly suspicious" that Amedisys may have done that so Gentiva or others could make a higher bid for Amedisys. (bit.ly/TqI0zc)
Kindred said it is "firmly committed" to the proposed deal and asked Gentiva board to start discussions.
Kindred previously indicated that it would be prepared to consider raising its bid to buy Gentiva if Gentiva started discussions and showed additional value.
On June 16, Kindred raised its offer by 50 cents per share to $14.50 per share in cash or $573 million, a premium of 70 percent to Gentiva's closing price on May 13, the day before Kindred made its offer public.
In May, Gentiva had adopted a "poison pill" with a trigger of 15 percent to counter Kindred's hostile bid.
"Poison pills," also called shareholder rights plans, are designed to stop hostile takeover attempts by triggering the issuance of new shares that dilute the holdings of investors who exceed a set threshold.
Kindred said it had made its offer public because Gentiva was unwilling to discuss a deal. It said a merger would create a company with adjusted annual revenue of about $7.2 billion that provides a full spectrum of services to an aging U.S. population.
Reporting by Soham Chatterjee; Editing by David Gregorio