Spire looks at float amid buyout talks

Michael Bow
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PRIVATE equity firm Cinven is looking at plans to exit its stake in private healthcare provider Spire Healthcare through a flotation of the company, it emerged yesterday.

Spire Healthcare, which was bought by Cinven in 2007, was put on the block earlier this year with a valuation of between £1.5bn to £1.7bn. The British investment house is now weighing plans to sell its stake through a public listing, as well as pursuing a long-standing auction of the firm.

Spire is made up of 38 hospitals and employs 7,600 people. It was originally part of Bupa’s hospital business until Cinven bought the firm and rebranded it Spire.

Advisers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley were appointed earlier this year to try and sell the company, either through an auction of an initial public offering of shares.

So-called dual track processes have become increasingly for private equity shareholders because it allows them a chance to get the best price for their firms. Businesses are still in the race to snap up the firm and include Cinven’s private equity rivals CVC Capital Partners as well as healthcare trade buyers.