Champ Seeks Buyers for Healthcare Australia

(Reuters) – Australian private equity firm CHAMP has kicked off a sales process for Healthcare Australia (HCBA), the nation’s largest nursing and aged care staffing business, two people familiar with the matter said.

Information memorandums for HCA, which local media reports said was worth about A$300 million ($265 million), were sent prospective buyers last week, the sources said.

Indicative bids were expected in August, said one of the sources, who could not be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The sale process follows a lacklustre peformance for recent initial public offerings in Australia and strong interest in Australia’s healthcare sector from offshore bidders. Hospital operator Healthscope (HSP.AX) was sold for $1.7 billion this week following a bidding war between two private equity groups.

HCA said in March it had appointed Greenhill Caliburn to look at options for the business, including a trade sale or initial public offer.

Trade sales or secondary deals have been the preferred exit option for private equity groups in Australia so far this year due to lacklustre markets. CHAMP sold university programme provider Study Group to U.S. buyout firm Providence Equity for $570 million earlier this month.

A CHAMP spokesman declined to comment. (Reporting by Michael Smith and Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Michael Perry)