Daily Briefing: Primary scuttles Symbion-Healthscope deal

September 11, 2007

symbion.jpgAustralian healthcare group Symbion Health and suitor Healthscope plan fresh talks on a tie-up after shareholders rejected Healthscope’s A$2.9 billion ($2.4 billion) offer. Rival group Primary Health Care, voted its 20 percent strategic stake in Symbion against the deal. The bid won 73.9 percent votes in favor, but required 75 percent to pass. Primary has proposed buying some Symbion assets and has said it might make a private equity-backed bid for Symbion as the three companies jockey for position in a consolidating healthcare sector.
 
** The Carlyle Group has postponed the sale of cable-tv company Insight Communications, according to a source familiar with the matter. Tight credit market have curtailed bids from suitors interested in the cable company, which Carlyle bought for $2.1 billion in a December 2005 management-led leveraged buyout.
 
** London-based advertising conglomerate WPP Group acquired Schematic, an independent interactive agency based in Los Angeles, The New York Times reported. Details of the all-cash deal are not being disclosed.  WPP, which owns Grey Global, JWT and Ogilvy & Mather, has been in a race with rivals to acquire digital-media savvy companies. WPP bought 24/7 Real Media for $649 million in July.
    
** Private equity firms, including Bain Capital and Permira, have joined a big field of contestants for Japanese agrichemical company Arysta LifeScience, sources familiar with the matter said. They join Israel’s Makhteshim Agan Industries, the world’s biggest maker of generic agrichemicals, and Australian farm chemical maker Nufarm, the sources said. Private equity firm Olympus Capital Holdings Asia is selling Arysta in an auction that could raise more than $2 billion.
    
** The French government has hired British bank HSBC and consultancy firm McKinsey to review options for state-controlled nuclear group Areva, according to the French newspaper Les Echos. Without citing sources, the paper reported authorities favor a tie-up between Areva and French industrial power plant and high-speed train firm Alstom, and said a merger between the two firms would create a company with a market capitalization of 40 billion euros.

(Photo: Reuters file — Healthscope Managing Director Dixon laughs with Symbion Health Chief Executive Cooke after a media conference in Sydney)  
  

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