Brookfield Asset Management has moved a step closer with its A$4.4bn (€2.76bn) takeover of Healthscope following AustralianSuper’s decision to sell its 15.6% stake in the hospital owner.

AustralianSuper has sold its stake in Healthscope to Brookfield for A$680m, clearing the final hurdle for the Canadian group in its takeover of the listed firm, which runs 43 private hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.

Healthscope’s board has made its support to the Brookfield bid since February. 

Healthscope shareholders are due to vote for Brookfield’s scheme of arrangement later this month. It requires 75% of votes cast to support its cash offer.

AustralianSuper’s chief investment officer, Mark Delaney, yesterday wrote to Healthscope’s chair, Paula Dwyer, informing her that the fund intended to vote for Brookfield’s proposed scheme of arrangement at an upcoming meeting, subject to no proposal coming forward before the vote that it considered superior.

AustralianSuper in April last year launched its own A$4.1bn bid for Healthscope, via a consortium which included Singapore’s GIC. The consortium was led by an Australian private equity group, BGH Capital Fund.

It initially offered A$2.36 per share, repeating the offer in October, but Healthscope’s board twice rejected the bid. Healthscope subsequently accepted an offer of A$2.50 per share from Brookfield.

A spokesman for AustralianSuper told IPE Real Assets that the fund stood to gain an uplift of more than A$180m on its shares in Brookfield compared with when it made its bid last year. At the time, Healthscope shares were travelling at A$1.74.

Industry sources said the A$155bn industry fund would now need to find new assets to replace its Healthscope investment.

These sources said AustralianSuper liked the healthcare sector and had been an investor in Healthscope for many years.

But it felt that when Healthscope was delisted under the scheme of arrangement, AustralianSuper would not have access to the same level of “detailed” discussions (with Brookfield) on issues such as governance and board representation.