Air Methods agrees to be taken private in $2.5 billion deal

(Reuters) - U.S. medical helicopter company Air Methods Corp AIRM.O, which has been under pressure from activist investor Voce Capital to sell itself, agreed to be acquired by private equity firm American Securities LLC in a $2.5 billion deal, including debt.

American Securities’ offer of $43 per Air Methods share represents a premium of about 4 percent to the stock’s Monday close.

The company’s shares had gained about 16 percent since Jan. 31, the day before the Wall Street Journal reported that Air Methods was exploring a sale.

Air Methods’ shares were trading at $42.75 before the bell on Tuesday.

The equity value of the deal is about $1.57 billion based on Air Methods outstanding shares as of March 13, according to Reuters calculation.

Air Methods is the largest U.S. air medical transport provider in the $5 billion air medical market. The company also has a complementary air tourism business.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2017, the company said.

Hedge fund Voce Capital Management LLC last month nominated four candidates, including its founder and managing partner, for election to Air Methods board.

Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners LLC are financial advisers to Air Methods, while Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Holland & Hart LLP are its legal advisers.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is the legal adviser to American Securities.

Reporting by Natalie Grover and Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila