Ramsay’s $1.4 Billion Bid for Spire Fails Shareholder Vote

Ramsay Health Care Ltd.‘s offer to buy the private U.K. hospital operator Spire Healthcare Group Plc for about $1.4 billion floundered after failing to win the backing of enough shareholders.

The proposed 250 pence-a-share deal won the backing of about 70% of shares voted at a general meeting held Monday, falling short of the 75% threshold required. Spire’s board had backed the transaction.

Ramsay, based in Australia, aimed to take advantage of the U.K.’s growing need for private health facilities. Spire shares fell as much as 13% in London trading to 204.50 pence. They started declining before the vote as investors anticipated the rejection.

“We are pleased that a significant number of shareholders agreed with us and have firmly rejected this inadequate offer,” Toscafund, which bought shares in recent days to take its holding up to 10.8%, said by email.

Spire is the second-largest provider of private health care in the U.K. It works with insurers, the state-run National Health Service, consultant partners and associated clinical networks in the country.

Although Ramsay sweetened its offer earlier this month, “the price just wasn’t high enough given the improvements being made at the business and the level of asset backing,” Charles Hall, head of research at Peel Hunt, said by email.

The London-based company plans to continue to use digital efficiency measures to improve profit margins and seek to enhance the quality of patient care as a standalone, it said in a statement.

Spire holders include South Africa’s Mediclinic International Plc, which had intended to use the deal proceeds to broaden its focus beyond hospital operations.

Read More: Mediclinic CEO Says Spire Exit Allows Greater Push to Diversify

Ramsay operates hundreds of facilities across 11 countries.

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