Fortis in focus, all potential investors offer nearly identical prices

Fortis in focus, all potential investors offer nearly identical prices

Media reports also suggest that Kuala Lumpur-based IHH Healthcare has also sent a letter to board of the Fortis Healthcare indicating that it would be willing to offer Rs160 per share to acquire controlling stake in the company.

The development comes at a time when IHH Healthcare and Manipal Hospitals Enterprises Pvt.

IHH, one of Asia's largest healthcare operators, has been scouting acquisitions to grow in India, where it has said before that it expects a spike in demand for private healthcare.

A lack of quality assets in healthcare in India also makes Fortis attractive, a source advising Fortis on the deal said, declining to be named.

In the IHH letter, which Fortis made public, the former said it was making the offer due to the "inability of the statutory auditors of (Fortis) to opine on its financial position as at December 31, 2017, and regulatory investigations that are now underway".

"The said proposal is under evaluation by the company and we will keep the stock exchanges informed accordingly", it added. The proposal, which is subject to certain conditions, includes an immediate investment of 5 billion rupees and 7.5 billion rupees after diligence is completed within three weeks.

Sunil Munjal, the chairman of Hero Enterprise, Anand Burman, the chairman of Dabur Group and Mohit Burman, the managing director of Elephant Capital LLP and director on Dabur's board, have said this infusion will help in addressing urgent financial needs of the company. If Fortis board rejects the approach, IHH will consider taking its offer directly to the company's shareholders, according to the people. On Tuesday, Manipal revised the term, offering Rs 155 a share to Fortis.

While the bidders are lining up, the Fortis saga has been on for a while.

Both IHH and Fortis were not immediately available for comment.

IHH had engaged in talks early previous year to invest in Fortis, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

But Fortis's minority shareholders, including billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, said the price was low, forcing Manipal to sweeten the deal, valuing Fortis at 80.39 billion rupees.