October 10, 2018 / 9:44 AM / a year ago

Big Capio shareholders back $900 million Ramsay takeover

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Leading shareholders in Sweden’s Capio CAPIO.ST swung behind a $900 million takeover bid from France’s Ramsay Generale de Sante (GDSF.PA) on Wednesday, paving the way for a deal to go through after the board backed it.

Capio’s three biggest investors as of June 30 — Swedbank Robur, R12 Kapital and AP4 — all said they were in favor of the bid at the increased price. They account for around one quarter of capital and votes in total.

Ramsay Generale, 50.9 percent owned by Australia’s Ramsay Health Care (RHC.AX), had raised its bid to 58 crowns per share on Monday after Capio’s board rejected an initial bid of 48.50 crowns in July.

R12 Kapital told Reuters it would accept the offer, while AP4 - The Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund - said it was likely to do so.

“We think the judgement by the board is reasonable and that the bid level reflects the company’s potential, which the previous bid did not,” a Swedbank Robur spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

The Capio board backed the bid on Wednesday and also withdrew its own proposal to sell Capio France.

Ramsay Generale, 50.9 percent owned by Australia’s Ramsay Health Care (RHC.AX), said on Wednesday it had lowered the acceptance level for the bid to 75 percent from 90 percent. Monday’s cash bid valued Capio at around 8.19 billion crowns ($903 million).

A deal would help Ramsay become a leading private pan-European healthcare services provider, while Capio has said that repositioning towards Nordic markets could enhance its strategic focus and drive shareholder value.

Capio Chairman Michael Wolf said many shareholders had been concerned about Ramsay’s previous required acceptance level of 90 percent.

“Now, with 75 percent, our judgment is that the transaction risk becomes significantly lower and that this is something the shareholders will want to do,” he told Reuters.

Shares in Capio, which runs clinics and hospitals in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France and Germany, were up 1.9 percent to 57.80 crowns at 0910 GMT, close to Ramsay’s bid price.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; additional reporting by Olof Swahnberg and Johannes Hellstrom

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