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Fresenius Drops on Renewed Takeover Speculation: Frankfurt Mover

Fresenius SE declined the most in four weeks on speculation that the company’s supervisory board is considering a new takeover offer for the hospital operator Rhoen-Klinikum AG.

Fresenius fell 2.9 percent to 85.40 euros, valuing the Bad Homburg, Germany-based company at 15.2 billion euros ($19 billion). It was the stock’s biggest decrease since July 23.

Fresenius’ previous 3.1 billion-euro bid failed to win enough investor support after Asklepios Kliniken GmbH, another hospital company, bought 5 percent of Rhoen Klinikum’s shares on the last day of the offer on June 27. Fresenius spokesman Matthias Link said Aug. 9 that the company was still assessing its options regarding a renewed takeover effort. Link declined to comment today on the speculation after Reuters reported Fresenius’s supervisory board will weigh another takeover attempt this week.

“Investors are worried about the risk of overpaying for Rhoen,” said Peter Braendle, who manages 500 million Swiss francs ($519 million) at Zurich-based Swisscanto Asset Management, which holds Fresenius shares. “We cannot assume that this attempt would be any cheaper than the last one.”

Fresenius is exploring alternatives to the 90 percent threshold and holding discussions with Rhoen Klinikum, according to a person close to the company who declined to be named because the deliberations are private. One possibility is to purchase a simple majority of the shares instead of the 90 percent that would be needed to fully integrate Rhoen Klinikum into Fresenius’s own Helios hospital unit, the person said this month.

The decline in the stock may also be attributed to investors taking advantage of a 6.5 percent gain in the stock since June 27, said Mathieu Chabert, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. in Paris, said in a telephone interview today.

“Yesterday there was some news about a new offer for Rhoen which could have moved the stock but here is no major reason for the selling,” said Chabert, who maintains a buy recommendation on Fresenius.

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