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Fresenius Weighs Merger of Hospital Arm With Rival Chains

German health care conglomerate Fresenius SE is exploring a potential combination of its Helios unit with a rival hospital chain after fielding interest from large buyout funds, people familiar with the matter said.

Fresenius is leaning toward the option of merging Helios with a competitor, rather than selling a minority stake in the business in return for cash, the people said. It has held initial talks with private equity firms including CVC Capital Partners and KKR & Co. about possible transactions, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.