The Fortis Healthcare saga continues...here's how it has unfolded so far

With this offer unlikely to be revised further a rival bid for Fortis from Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Berhad is the only event that could tempt them into seeking a better deal. Graphic Mint

Malaysia's IHH Healthcare Berhad on Thursday offered to buy India's Fortis Healthcare Ltd, sparking a potential three-way takeover battle for the company at a time when interest in Indian healthcare assets is rising.

Fortis Healthcare has already received two offers while the third one, from IHH, is expected.

But even without it, an under-resourced Indian public health system has helped Fortis - with around 30 hospitals across India - and rival private-healthcare companies such as Manipal and Apollo Hospital Enterprise Ltd grow rapidly in recent years, tapping into demand for better healthcare.

"As the assets of Fortis are good, the company may get more competitive offers in the future", said executive vice-president for markets Sanjiv Bhasin at brokerage India Infoline.

According to their offer, the allotment and pricing would be in accordance with SEBI guidelines for preferential shares or ₹ 156 per share, whichever is higher.

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Manipal, seeking to expand its presence beyond southern India, first offered to buy Fortis last month, proposing a deal that would give control of the combined company to Manipal Chief Executive Ranjan Pai and US buyout firm TPG Capital.

The rest Rs 750 crore shall given after due diligence subject to the satisfaction of the investors which will be completed in three weeks, the letter added.

Fortis shares gained 4.17 per cent to end at Rs 153.80 on the BSE on Thursday.

The potentially competing bids are the latest twist in the Fortis saga, with India's fraud watchdog and stock regulator investigating the company after Bloomberg News reported the company's founders took at least 5 billion rupees out of the firm without board approval. If Fortis board rejects the approach, IHH will consider taking its offer directly to the company's shareholders, according to the people. A representative for IHH declined to comment, while a spokesman for Fortis said he couldn't immediately comment. Brothers Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh have resigned from the company and have lost control of their shareholding due to mounting debt. Ranjan Pai, chairman, Manipal Education and Medical Group, in an interview to VCCircle had said that given the complexity of the deal structure, the relative valuation has not been properly understood.