The Envision Healthcare Corp. application is displayed in the App Store on an Apple Inc. iPhone in an arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S. (Photographer: Alex Flynn/Bloomberg)

KKR Said to Near $5.5 Billion Deal For Envision, WSJ Says

(Bloomberg) -- KKR & Co. is close to a deal to buy Envision Healthcare Corp., a provider of physician services to hospitals, for about $5.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The deal is expected to be announced on Monday at $46 a share, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter that it didn’t identify. Including debt, the transaction would be worth about $10 billion, the Journal reported. The per-share price would be 5.4 percent higher than Friday’s close of $43.64.

The Nashville, Tennessee-based company has been conducting an auction in the wake of a strategic review announced last fall. That came shortly after activist investor Starboard Value, run by Jeff Smith, revealed a stake in the company and said it would make an attractive takeover target. Corvex Management, another activist firm and shareholder, reduced most of its holdings in the first quarter.

KKR declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News, and Envision couldn’t immediately be reached for comment outside normal business hours on Sunday.

The transaction would be one of the largest private-equity buyouts in recent years, the Journal reported, at a time buyout firms are sitting on more than $1 trillion of cash.

In the months after the review started, Envision was said to draw interest from UnitedHealth Group Inc. and separate groups of private-equity firms interested in all or parts of the company. Those groups included a consortium comprised of Hellman & Friedman, Onex Corp. and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, as well as one led by Carlyle Group LP.

Reuters reported last month that KKR was joining on an offer with HCA Healthcare Inc., which was said to want Envision’s AmSurg ambulatory-surgery business.

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