File photo of IHH Healthcare Bhd chief executive officer Tan See Leng. [NSTP/SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD]

NST Business

KUALA LUMPUR: IHH Healthcare Bhd’s offer to take over India-based Fortis Healthcare Ltd has been rejected.

IHH yesterday said Fortis had declined to engage with it regarding the takeover offer, citing binding agreements with other suitors.

“IHH had on April 11 issued a strictly non-binding letter to the board of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, expressing IHH’s interest to participate in Fortis and its affiliates in a suitable manner.

“In response to the letter, the board of Fortis has indicated its inability to engage with IHH, as Fortis has entered into binding agreements with Manipal Health Enterprises Pte Ltd, Manipal Global Health Services and TPG Asia,” IHH said in a Bursa Malaysia filing yesterday.

IHH, one of Asia’s largest healthcare operators, had offered to buy Fortis at a price that values the hospitals chain at about US$1.3 billion. This was higher than the roughly US$1.2 billion valuation an offer from Indian rival Manipal gave it.

Reuters reported that some of Fortis’s minority shareholders were dissatisfied with the Manipal offer, and it was unclear if the IHH price appeals to them.

Quoting an analyst with a brokerage in Mumbai, the wire news said an IHH merger with a hospitals chain such as Manipal might make more sense, adding that more details of the IHH offer were needed.

Reuters said Fortis, which is under investigation over financial fraud, had seen interest from multiple parties since Manipal offered to buy it last month.

Two Indian investors, Sunil Munjal’s Hero Enterprise and the Burman Family Office, offered last week to make an investment worth 12.5 billion rupees (US$191.5 million).

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