Hong Kong-based EC Healthcare has thwarted the takeover plans of Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) today after lobbing a $179 million all-cash bid to acquire Adelaide-based personal care chain SILK Laser Australia (ASX: SLA).
The $3.35 per share offer represents a 6.3 per cent premium from the proposal put forward by Wesfarmers subsidiary Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) last month, which valued the company at $169 million.
In an announcement on the ASX today, SILK noted that API, the owner of pharmacy chain Priceline, has five business days to revise its offer for the laser hair removal and injectables clinics operator.
Founded in 2005, EC Healthcare has a market capitalisation of HKD$5.27 billion (AUD$1 billion) and claims to be Hong Kong’s largest non-hospital medical service provider, operating roughly 154 clinics across Hong Kong, mainland China and Macau.
“After careful consideration and receiving advice from both its financial and legal advisers, the SILK board has determined the EC Proposal to be a superior proposal for the purposes of, and as defined in, the process deed between SILK and API,” SILK Laser told shareholders.
Operating 142 clinics across Australia, SILK Laser Australia also owns brands Australian Skin Clinics (ASC), The Cosmetic Clinic (TCC), Unique Laser and Eden Laser Clinics – a company that was purchased five months ago for $8.4 million.
SILK has grown its injecting team from roughly 200 to 250 nurses, making it one of the largest specialist non-surgical clinic groups in the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) region.
The previous $3.15 per share proposal from API would have seen the group join an existing health division that currently includes skincare, cosmetic injecting and laser hair removal service Clear Skincare Clinics. Founded in 1999, the Sydney-based company has more than 90 locations across ANZ.
Wesfarmers privatised API last year after successfully acquiring the company - which had also received offers from Sigma Healthcare (ASX: SIG) and Woolworths Group (ASX: WOW) - for $764 million.
Shares in SLA are up 9.6 per cent to $3.29 each at 12:33pm AEST.
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