Shareholders in private hospitals group Spire Healthcare have narrowly rejected a £1bn takeover bid from Ramsay Health Care.
At today’s AGM it was announced that around 70 per cent of the FTSE 250’s shareholders had voted in favour of the takeover, narrowly missing the 75 per cent minimum threshold.
Spire’s board had unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the takeover.
As a result, the acquisition has been terminated, Spire confirmed.
Chair Sir Ian Cheshire said: “Whilst the majority of shareholders voted in favour of the scheme, the result is clear.
“As a board, we are committed to representing the interests of our shareholders and have fulfilled our duty to present the proposed Transaction for their consideration, given its value and structure.”
Shares in the firm dropped 11.5 per cent after the announcement.
The vote came after Ramsay sweetened its deal for Spire from 240p per share to 250p per share after influential proxy shareholder group Glass Lewis urged investors to reject the deal.
However, despite the hiked offer, other investors like Toscafund and Fidelity said the deal still undervalues the private hospitals business.
A spokesperson for the former hailed the outcome, saying: “We are pleased that a significant number of shareholders agreed with us and have firmly rejected this inadequate offer from Ramsay Healthcare.
“Spire is a successful and highly valuable hospital group and should deserve a higher rating in the future. As committed shareholders, we now look forward to discussions with the management and the Board on the optimum course for the business.”
Despite the failed bid, chief executive Justin Ash insisted that Spire still had “strong prospects” as a standalone business.
“Our strategy has, and will continue to, prioritise investment in patient safety and quality of care in order to deliver sustainable long-term growth; this strategy has enjoyed strong shareholder support and we have remained focused on its execution throughout the offer period.”