Ironbridge and Archer bid for Australia’s Symbion Health

Australia-listed Symbion Health has received an unsolicited takeover proposal from a consortium of two buyout firms and a strategic rival keen to acquire Symbion’s pathology, medical centres and diagnostic imaging businesses.

Sydney-based buyout firms Ironbridge Capital and Archer Capital have teamed up with Australia’s second largest private healthcare operator Healthscope to approach locally-listed rival Symphion Health with an unsolicited takeover offer worth $2.3 billion.

The proposed deal has been described in local press as a move toward the anticipated rationalistion of Australia’s pathology sector. Last year, Symbion approached Primary Health Care, a rival about buying its pathology business, an approach that led to an unfriendly proposal from Primary earlier this year for a merger. The terms valued Symbion at A$3.50 a share, well below its market value at the time, and was rejected.

In the most recent proposal, the consortium has offered to to acquire all of Symbion’s shares on issue “in exchange for cash and Healthscope shares with an indicative implied value of A$4.30 a share,” according to a filing with the exchange.

The private equity duo are after Symbion’s pharmacy and consumer businesses while Healthscope is keen to acquire its pathology, medical centres and diagnostic imaging businesses, according to a statement by Healthscope.

The two listed healthcare operators are undertaking due diligence on each other, and are also in discussions with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a competition watchdog, according to Healthscope which expects to make a formal announcement of the proposal status by end May.

Ironbridge and Archer acquired 3M branded pharmaceutical business in Asia Pacific and Africa for $349 million in November last year.