Blackstone Joins Bid for Healthscope

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) has joined a group bidding $1.5 billion for Australian hospital operator Healthscope (HSP.AX), a source familiar with the situation said.

Blackstone had considered making its own bid but opted to join private equity firms TPG [TPG.UL] and Carlyle [CYL.UL] to provide extra financial backing, as a syndicate of 15 banks pulled back loan commitments after profit warnings from two of Healthscope’s rivals and amid market volatility, the Australian Financial Review said on Tuesday.

Blackstone is being advised by UBS (UBSN.VX).

Last week TPG and Carlyle raised their bid for Healthscope slightly to A$1.8 billion, or A$5.75 a share, hoping to woo the board.

Healthscope, which has allowed the bidders to review its books before finalising their proposal, has not named the bidders.

The bid would be the largest private equity bid in Australia since 2008.

Blackstone said last week it is planning to establish a presence in Australia to seek opportunities to invest and to raise capital. ($1=1.202 Australian Dollar) (Additional reporting by Megan Davies in NEW YORK) (Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)