Tenet Healthcare hires advisers to explore options: source

(Reuters) - Tenet Healthcare Corp THC.N has hired advisers to explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the U.S. hospital operator, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The discussions are in the early stages and there is no guarantee they will lead to a sale, added the person, who could not speak for attribution because the talks are private.

Tenet declined to comment.

News of the strategic review was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Last month, Tenet said it would replace longtime Chief Executive Trevor Fetter and members of its board, in response to pressure from its largest shareholder to shake up the hospital company’s management.

Tension has been rising between Tenet and Glenview Capital Management, an activist investor that owns 17.8 percent of its stock.

Glenview pulled two of its executives from Tenet’s board earlier in August, citing irreconcilable differences over strategy.

Shares of Tenet, one of the largest U.S. hospital companies, have lost nearly three-quarters of their value since 2015. The industry has struggled over that period because of fewer patients, rising expenses and high debt.

Shares of Tenet closed at around $16 on Wednesday, before rising more than 10 percent after hours.

Potential buyers of Tenet would need to contend with the company’s $15 billion debt load, which could be a potential hindrance to private equity acquirers, said an investment banker, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

Reporting by Carl O’Donnell in New York; Additional reporting by Mike Flaherty and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Lisa Shumaker