HCA Holdings Said to Consider Offer for Australia’s Healthscope

HCA Holdings Inc., the largest for-profit U.S. hospital chain, is weighing an offer for Australian health-care provider Healthscope Ltd., said people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. company may bid for Australia’s second-largest private hospital operator by early next month, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. Healthscope’s owners, TPG Capital and Carlyle Group LP, are also considering an initial public offering that may raise as much as A$4 billion ($3.8 billion), people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

TPG and Carlyle are studying sale options for Healthscope including an IPO or trade sale and splitting off the company’s property assets to sell them separately, people familiar with the matter said March 11. The owners haven’t made a final decision on whether to pursue an IPO or a trade sale, the people said.

The Australian Financial Review reported HCA’s interest earlier today. A call to HCA spokesman Ed Fishbough outside normal office hours in Nashville, Tennessee, wasn’t immediately returned. A spokeswoman for TPG and Carlyle declined to comment.

Healthscope operates 44 hospitals including the Prince of Wales Private Hospital in Sydney and Melbourne Private Hospital, according to its website. It also runs pathology centers in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore.

The two U.S. private equity firms bought Healthscope for A$2.7 billion in 2010, beating KKR & Co. to what was then was Australia’s biggest buyout in eight years. Ramsay Health Care Ltd. is the country’s largest private hospital operator.

New York-based KKR and Bain Capital LLC each own about 6.8 percent of HCA, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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