Australia’s largest private hospital operator Ramsay Healthcare is buying UK private healthcare provider Spire Healthcare for £2.1bn (€2.4bn).

Ramsay has agreed, by way of a scheme of arrangement, to pay Spire shareholders 240p for each share they hold. Ramsay will fund the transaction from its existing debt facilities.

The deal will require the approval of at least 75% of Spire’s shareholders and has to be cleared with the UK competition authority.

Spire operates 39 private hospitals and eight clinics across the UK. On completion of the deal, Ramsay would almost double the number of hospitals it operates in the UK to 75, and lift the number of healthcare facilities it operates worldwide to almost 600.

Craig McNally, CEO and managing director of Ramsay said the transaction would enable Ramsay to build on its established reputation for delivering high-quality patient care and outcomes in the UK.

“The proposed combination builds a broader platform to take advantage of the opportunity for sustained growth in the £5.8bn UK private hospital sector, with the aim of delivering best-in-class healthcare to all patients,” he said.

Justin Ash, CEO of Spire said: “Spire has made significant progress towards the strategic goals laid out in 2018, including a material improvement in CQC ratings, and strong growth in private payor income.”

More recently, Ash said Spire had showcased its strengths and capabilities through its partnership with the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The highly complementary combination of Spire and Ramsay presents a unique opportunity to accelerate this progress, will increase choice to private and NHS patients across the UK,” he said.

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