Australia’s Virtus Health considers revised bid from BGH in takeover battle with CapVest

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By Riya Sharma and Sameer Manekar

(Reuters) – Australian fertility services provider Virtus Health said on Wednesday it will consider a revised buyout offer from minority owner BGH Capital, weeks after it accepted a sweeter bid from rival suitor CapVest Partners.

In a takeover battle that has seen Virtus shares climb 55% since last December, private equity firm BGH Capital, which already owns 19.9% of Virtus, is now offering A$8.0 per share, valuing the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) specialist at A$683.5 million ($518 million) in total.

The revised offer is at a discount of 0.9% to Virtus’ last closing stock price, and is 4.6% higher than BGH’s previous offer of A$7.65 apiece.

Melbourne-based BGH’s new proposed bid comes weeks after Virtus unanimously recommended to shareholders – including BGH – a cash offer of A$8.25 per share from investment firm CapVest, valuing Virtus at A$704.8 million. Virtus’ deal with CapVest allows it to consider a superior proposal from BGH or another party.

London-based CapVest did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

“Virtus board is considering the BGH takeover bid, and in particular, whether it constitutes a ‘superior proposal’ under the transaction implementation deed signed with an entity controlled by CapVest Partners,” Virtus said in a statement.

Shares in Virtus which has operations in Australia, Ireland, Denmark, Britain and Singapore, were up 0.7% at A$8.13 as of 0251 GMT while the broader market was down 0.7%. [.AX]

BGH’s new off-market takeover bid is structured as an all-cash offer, with no reliance on any tax rulings or capital returns, the private equity firm said.

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The offer would provide shareholders with “an opportunity to divest as much Virtus stock as they deem appropriate” without having to pay brokerage fees, BGH said.

($1 = 1.3200 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Riya Sharma and Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Kenneth Maxwell)