Australia's Estia Health surges after $517.7 mln bid from Bain Capital

The logo of Bain Capital is displayed on the screen during a news conference in Tokyo
The logo of Bain Capital is displayed on the screen during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

March 24 (Reuters) - Australian aged-care provider Estia Health Ltd (EHE.AX) said on Friday it received a non-binding buyout proposal from U.S. private investment firm Bain Capital for A$775.1 million ($517.77 million), sending its shares to an over 3-year high.

The A$3.00 cash per share proposal, which is at a 28.2% premium to Estia's last close, is among the latest proposals by a private equity firm since last year amid increasing merger and acquisition activity in Australia.

The board of Estia Health is considering the indicative proposal to assess whether it is in the best interests of shareholders to engage with Bain Capital, the company said in a statement.

Shares of the Sydney-based company surged as much as 21.4% to A$2.84, their highest since November 2019. It was also on track to post its biggest jump in more than two years.

Local media had reported on Thursday that a potential acquirer was buying shares in the company based on its volume over the past two days.

On Friday, Estia said it is not aware of the identity of the party or parties who have acquired shares over the preceding two days.

With reference to the local media report, brokerage RBC said it had a positive outlook for the aged care sector on improving occupancy rates, dissipating COVID impacts and smaller providers exiting the market.

Estia last month posted net loss from ordinary activities after tax attributable for six months ended Dec. 31 of A$25.3 million, compared to a loss of A$8.1 million a year prior.

In April last year, EML Payments (EML.AX) was in talks with Bain Capital for a potential buyout, but the company said the talks had ceased without an agreed deal.

($1 = 1.4970 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Ayushman Ojha; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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