Global investor The Blackstone Group has pulled out of a consortium that was bidding for Australian hospital operator Healthscope, a source confirmed to sister news site PEI Asia. It is unclear why Blackstone is no longer part of the bidding consortium also including TPG Capital and The Carlyle Group.
Blackstone did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Blackstone's withdrawal now pits the two remaining firms in the consortium, TPG and Carlyle, against rival firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in a battle for the Australian hospital chain operator, with bids expected to be in the $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion range.
If completed, the buyout would be Australia's largest private equity transaction in the last two years.
In withdrawing from the consortium, Blackstone follows the footsteps CVC Asia Pacific, which pulled out of its partnership with KKR in June. New York Stock Exchange-listed Tenet Healthcare, a trade buyer, was also initially involved in the bidding process but has since pulled out.
The Carlyle-TPG consortium initially submitted an indicative bid of A$5.50 (€3.73; $4.81) a share before upping its offer to A$5.75 per share in May, while KKR and CVC made an indicative bid of A$5.80 a share, though CVC has since pulled out of the consortium.
Healthscope is Australia's second-largest hospital owner with branches spanning the country as well as facilities in New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. The company, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, includes a medical centres division with over 45 clinics and a diagnostic imaging division centred in major hospitals.