DCA in unsolicited take-private from private equity groups

In another example of an Australian unsolicited take-private bid, DCA Group, an Australian healthcare provider, has received “highly conditional” takeover proposals from unnamed private equity groups.

DCA Group, a diagnostic and aged healthcare group listed on the Australian stock exchange, has received “highly conditional” takeover proposals that will only proceed with support from the board.

“The Board has appointed external financial and legal advisers UBS Investment Bank and Freehills to assist in its consideration of the proposals,” DCA Group said in a statement.

According to local media reports, Australian private equity firms Ironbridge Capital and Pacific Equity Partners as well as Macquarie Bank are among those interested in the business.

All three firms have invested in the healthcare sector: Ironbridge in Affinity Healthcare, a hospital operator, and Qualcare, operator of aged care facilities in New Zealand; Pacific Equity Partners in New Zealand’s Guardian Aged Care, which it sold on to DCA; and Macquarie Capital Alliance Group in Retirement Care Australia Group.

A spokesman from DCA declined to reveal who has approached the company.

DCA is the latest public company in Australia to be targeted by private equity money. Listed retailers Coles Myer and Colorado Group are also being pursued by cashed-up private equity groups seeking assets on the Australian stock market.

Colorado’s suitor is Affinity Equity Partners, a pan-Asian investor. Market sources say that if Affinity gains the support of Colorado’s board, will encourage more unsolicited private equity-sponsored private-to-public transactions in Australia.

DCA shares have held above the A$3.00 mark so far today, compared to a close at A$3.05 last Friday when 41.8 million shares changed hands following news that the company had received an unsolicited takeover bid.

Prior to DCA confirming the proposal, the company shares closed at A$2.60, with less than six million shares being traded on 7 September.