Cinven eyes $2.5 bn from sale of UK hospital chain Spire Healthcare

UK's second-biggest private hospital operator Spire Healthcare has hired banks to explore a sale, which may fetch its European private equity owner around £1.5 billion ($2.5 billion), Reuters yesterday reported, citing several people familiar with the matter.

Cinven eyes $2.5 bn from sale of UK hospital chain Spire HealthcareLondon-based Cinven had, in 2007, outbid CVC, Terra Firma and BC Partners for Classic Hospitals and Thames Valley Hospital owned by UK's medical insurance provider BUPA with a £1.4 billion offer and, post acquisition, renamed it Spire Healthcare.

Cinven has hired Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to conduct the sale, which could attract interest from peers like CVC, Blackstone, Charterhouse, Bain, KKR and Onex, the report said.

Spire is a leading provider of private healthcare, with 37 private hospitals throughout the UK employing over 7,600 people and treating over 9 million patients annually.

Since 2007 Spire has invested £400 million in the hospitals, including in new scanners, upgrading and building new theatres, building two new hospitals and satellite clinics, and expanding Spire's range of services.

As of December 2012, it had sales of £739 million.