Malaysian investment holding firm IHH Healthcare Bhd plans to bid for India's Fortis Healthcare Ltd at a price marginally better than Manipal Hospitals Enterprises Pvt Ltd's offer, Bloomberg reported https://bloom.bg/2HtCIxX on Thursday, citing people aware of the matter.
The rival bid by IHH would follow Manipal's offer on April 10 to buy Fortis at around 155 rupees per share, or 80.39 billion rupees ($1.23 billion), which minority shareholders -- including billionaire Indian investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala -- had expressed concerns about.
The IHH bid could value the healthcare services giant at as much as $1.3 billion, according to Bloomberg.
IHH, which wants to work with Fortis on a friendly offer, has asked the board for time to update its due diligence before making a formal bid, the report added.
Fortis shares spiked following the report, although it wasn't immediately clear if the new bid would appease minority shareholders.
The deal is critical for Manipal to expand its presence in the growing hospitals business beyond south India. Increasing access to healthcare services and a government drive to expand health insurance are expected to increase footfalls at hospitals, benefitting chains such as Manipal and Fortis.
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.
Fortis Chief Executive Bhavdeep Singh said on a call last month that other parties, which he declined to name, had expressed an interest in buying Fortis. IHH declined to comment on Thursday and Fortis did not respond to a request for comment.
Fortis shares jumped as much as 4 percent on Thursday to reach 153.9 rupees – their highest level since March 27, when Manipal made its first offer public.