Blackstone Planning Bid for Southern Cross

Private equity firm Blackstone is planning to make a bid for British homecare operator Southern Cross, Reuters reported, citing a story in the Sunday Telegraph. Reuters previously reported that Southern Cross was in talks with unnamed potential buyers. Blackstone is already familiar with the company. The buyout shop owned Southern Cross before taking it public in 2006, Reuters said.

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Blackstone (BX.N) is drawing up plans to mount a takeover bid of Southern Cross (SCHE.L), the British care home operator it used to own, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Southern Cross said on Thursday it was in early-stage talks with other potential buyers after previous suitor, private equity firm Towerbrook Capital, said it was walking away without making an offer for the company.

Blackstone, which owned Southern Cross before listing it in 2006, is looking at launching a takeover of the listed operating company and its property company with a view to combining them, said the newspaper, without citing sources.

Blackstone and Southern Cross could not be reached for comment by Reuters on Sunday.

Shares in Southern Cross, which said in August pressure on public spending was hitting admissions, closed at 16.75 pence on Friday, valuing the company at 32 million pounds ($50.28 million).

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by David Cowell)