Envision to sell ambulance business to KKR in $2.4 billion deal

A member of the American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance crew wheels a gurney into a residence during a medical call in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

(Reuters) - Envision Healthcare Corp EVHC.N said on Tuesday it would sell its ambulance business to buyout firm KKR & Co KKR.N in an all-cash deal valued at $2.4 billion as it sharpens its focus on its core businesses.

The merger with American Medical Response (AMR), the largest U.S. provider of ambulance services, would allow KKR’s Air Medical Group to easily substitute costly helicopter flights with ambulances for shorter trips.

The combined company is expected to transport more than five million patients per year through a fleet of air and ground ambulances across 46 states and the District of Columbia.

Reuters reported last month that KKR was in advanced talks to acquire the business.

The buyout firm had acquired Air Medical two years ago.

The deal would also help streamline Envision’s business after its $10 billion merger with AmSurg Corp late last year, helping the company focus on providing services to physician practice groups and operating outpatient surgery centers.

The deal is being funded primarily by KKR’s North America XI Fund and Koch Equity Development LLC.

Guggenheim Securities was financial adviser to Envision while Barclays advised Air Medical. Citi and Goldman Sachs were Koch Equity’s advisers.

Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Anil D’silva