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Capio rejects hostile bid

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17:32 CEST+02:00
Swedish healthcare company Capio has turned down a 15.6 billion kronor takeover bid from French-Swedish risk capital group Opica.

The hostile bid from Opica is backed by venture capital firms Apax Partners and Nordic Capital. Many analysts believe that the deal could become a reality if Opica raises its bid.

The bid was received by Capio's board on Monday and was rejected at a meeting on Wednesday, but despite this the bidder made the offer public on Friday.

The board considers the offer too low, given Capio's underlying value and growth potential, according to board member Krister Hertzen.

Capio's main business involves running publicly funded hospitals.

Capio chairman Roger Holtback was not able to take part in negotiations due to a conflict of interest - he is a long-standing advisor to Nordic Capital.

Major shareholders told news agency TT on Friday that they had not yet taken a position on the bid.

"The offer came suddenly, and we have not had time, and there is no reason for us to commit ourselves quickly," said Thomas Halvorsen, CEO of Fjärde AP-fonden, Capio's second largest shareholder, which has a 5.3 percent stake.

The largest owner, Andra AP-fonden, gave the same message, as did Robur and AMF Pension.

For the bid to be accepted, shareholders representing 90 percent of the capital in the company will have to agree.

The cash offer of 153 kronor per share represents a premium of 35 percent given the average market share price over the past month.

When news of the bid became public, Capio shares rose 30 percent, landing at 161 kronor at the end of Friday trading.

Opica's owners said there were currently no plans to raise the bid, adding that they had expected the Capio board to reject the offer in order to buy more time. They added that there were no plans to break up Capio or to merge it with another healthcare company.

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