LONDON (Reuters) - The private equity owners of Spain's largest private hospital group, IDCSalud, are pursuing a potential 5 billion euro ($5.3 billion) sale or stock market listing of the healthcare operator, six sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
CVC Capital Partners [CVC.UL], the London-based majority owner of IDCSalud, bought a majority stake in rival Quiron last year and merged it with IDCSalud to create the largest healthcare operator in Spain and top five player in Europe.
As part of a buy-and-build approach, CVC has targeted a series of bolt-on acquisitions to boost IDCSalud's growth across Spain, such as Madrid-based Ruber Hospital in December and health company Fremap in March.
The group, which now has 40 hospitals and 30 medical centers in Spain, could be valued at up to 5 billion euros, representing a multiple of 12 times its pro-forma EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of around 420 million euros, the sources said, cautioning that no deal was certain.
A spokesman for CVC declined to comment while Julio Fernández-Llamazares, a representative for IDCSalud, denied that any sale process was being launched.
IDCSalud, which employs over 17,000 people in Spain, is chaired by Victor Madera whose family has retained minority shares in the merged entity.
Any sale is expected to gain pace in the second half of the year but might not complete before Spain's general parliament elections which are due by year end, two of the sources said.
Prospective bidders would need to take into account any changes to healthcare policies and public spending, they said, adding that an eventual listing would also be finalised in the first quarter of 2016, the sources said.
Private hospitals have proved appealing to buyout funds. Dubai firm Ithmar Capital listed Al Noor Hospitals ANHA.L in 2013, while Apax owns UK independent healthcare provider General Healthcare Group.
Abu Dhabi-based Al Noor Hospitals Group is trading at 14.2 times EBITDA.
CVC bought IDCSalud, formerly known as Capio Spain, in 2011 from the Swedish healthcare group Capio.
The London-based private equity fund is to return around 4 billion euros to its investors following a series of exits in the first quarter including the IPO of Swiss telecoms firm Sunrise Communications (SRCG.S).
($1 = 0.9413 euros)
Additional reporting by Andres Gonzalez in Madrid, editing by Sophie Sassard and Elaine Hardcastle in London