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Acurity board tells shareholders to wait for takeover report

Acurity board tells shareholders to sit tight as Connor Healthcare reviews takeover

By Suze Metherell

Aug. 20 (BusinessDesk) - Acurity Healthcare Group's independent directors committee says Connor Healthcare is reviewing its takeover offer for the 29 percent of the company it doesn't own, including the price, and that shareholders should wait for the committee's report before trading shares.

Connor, which is made up of principal Acurity shareholders the Stewart family, Royston Hospital Trust Board, and Evolution Healthcare, announced plans for a cash takeover bid on July 28, offering $6.50 per share and valuing the private hospital operator at $112.2 million, saying the firm faces a big struggle lifting its flagship Wellington hospital up to earthquake code. Shares of Acurity were up 0.8 percent to $6.60 today.

Acurity's committee of independent directors today said it "understands that Connor is reviewing its offer terms (including, potentially, price) and, accordingly, the committee recommends that shareholders do not deal with their shares until the receive, and consider, the committee's takeover response documents."

Connor touted the cost of upgrading the hospital as too onerous for a public company to undertake by saying it would be better placed to absorb the cost than a publicly listed company.

Earlier this month, chief executive Ian England announced the appointment of a working group made up of specialists, directors and management to define what's needed to bring the hospital up to earthquake code and establish cost processes. While no definite figures were available, a recent review suggested the upgrade would cost between $45 million and $50 million, with a further $10 million needed to replace the current Wakefield Medical Consultant Centre.


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