Tuesday 11 February 2020 11:21 am

KKR denies approaching embattled NMC Health on possible offer

KKR has ruled out a possible takeover of NMC Health, one day after the embattled FTSE 100 hospital operator said it had been approached by the US investment firm.

NMC Health said yesterday that it had received approaches regarding potential takeover offers from KKR and GK Investment Holding, but KKR this morning denied making an approach. 

Read more: Investment firms circle for embattled NMC Health

“KKR confirms that it has not made a proposal nor discussed with NMC the terms of any possible offer, and that it does not intend to make an offer for NMC,” the company said. 

GK said this morning that it was in the preliminary stages of considering an offer for NMC.

NMC shares, which surged as much as 32 per cent yesterday after its announcement of possible takeovers, tumbled as much as 15.79 per cent. 

Overall, the hospital operator’s shares are still down over 60 per cent in the two months since US short-seller Muddy Waters published a report questioning NMC’s finances and management. 

Last night, the UK’s financial watchdog confirmed it is looking into NMC Health after the company said it was seeking urgent clarification from its major shareholders over the size of their stakes. 

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is seeking clarification from NMC over who owns its shares after the company said yesterday that its co-chairman’s stake was under legal review. 

Founder and co-chairman BR Shetty and fellow board member and shareholder Khalifa al-Muhairi have been asked to step back from NMC’s board as the other directors attempt to establish who owns what at the company, the largest private healthcare firm in the Middle East.

“We are aware of the situation and are making enquiries with the relevant parties”, said an FCA spokesperson.

NMC Health announced that it was carrying out a legal review to verify Shetty’s stake in the company last night. NMC said that the shareholding of Shetty and his two Emerati partners, Muhairi and Saeed al-Qebaisi, may “have been incorrectly reported historically to the company and the market”.

Read more: NMC Health hires former FBI director to probe short attack allegations

The healthcare provider said that Shetty and Muhairi will both “absent themselves from further board discussions until clarification of these matters”, “pending a board decision about their ongoing roles as directors of the company”.

Shares in finance firm Finablr, which owns foreign exchange company Travelex and was also founded by Shetty, fell as much as 4.52 per cent this morning, but later clawed back most of the losses.