The race to acquire Fortis Healthcare Ltd is heating up with the announcement that the hospital chain has received an unsolicited binding offer from Malaysia's IHH Healthcare Berhad - the third bidder to have entered the fray to buy Fortis.
IHH's interest came only a day after TPG-backed Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt sweetened its bid to hive off Fortis's hospital operations and merge them with its own business.
IHH is the world's second-largest provider of integrated healthcare services in terms of market cap (around $13 billion), and is the largest private healthcare provider in Asia.
In a regulatory filing, Fortis Healthcare (FHL) said the offer from Munjals and Burmans includes a Rs 500 crore binding offer immediately and Rs 750 crore post-diligence to be completed within three weeks.
"Our request for such due diligence primarily stems from the inability of the statutory auditors of the Company to opine on its financial position as on December 31 2017 and regulatory investigations that are now underway", it said.
"The said proposal is under evaluation by the company and we will keep the stock exchanges informed accordingly", it added.
Sunil Munjal, the chairman of Hero Enterprise, Anand Burman, the chairman of Dabur Group and Mohit Burman, the managing director of Elephant Capital LLP and director on Dabur's board, have said this infusion will help in addressing urgent financial needs of the company.
While the bidders are lining up, the Fortis saga has been on for a while.
It has asked the Fortis board for some time to update its due diligence before making a formal bid, the people said.
They are entering the fray as founders Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh were unable to repay loans and lost Fortis shares put up as collateral.
"As on date, based on publicly-available information and our preliminary analysis, we believe a price of up to Rs 160 per Fortis share to be appropriate, subject to satisfactory completion of a due diligence", he said. But it was not a smooth affair as financial investors protested the valuation offered for the Fortis group's hospitals business in the deal.