Australia's hospital chain Healthscope mulls two private equity bids

The board of Healthscope, Australia's second-largest hospital operator will mull over the weekend on whether to put one of the two competing bids made by two separate consortiums of private equity firms to shareholders for approval.

The frenzied bid to acquire Healthscope started in May, when the Melbourne-based hospital chain announced without naming the firm that it had received a $1.6 billion indicative takeover bid.

Private equity firms TPG, Carlyle Group and Blackstone Group had in May formed a consortium and made an indicative bid of A$5.75 a share, valuing Healthscope at A$1.82 billion.

But early this week, Blackstone withdrew from the consortium having differences in pricing with its partners.

New York City-based Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co with the backing of several lenders also lodged its bid yesterday offering A$5.80 a share.

In early June, US-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation, which had also bid for Healthscope, withdrew after its shareholders opposed the acquisition.