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Adani, Apollo explore bids for majority stake in Metropolis

Billionaire Gautam Adani and Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, the country’s biggest operator of hospitals, are evaluating bids to pick up a majority stake in diagnostic chain Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, two people familiar with the development said.

The deal size, given the market cap of Metropolis and its operations across the country, could be at least $1 billion ( ₹7,765 crore), they added.

Last month, Mint reported that Adani Group is planning a massive foray into the healthcare sector and may acquire large hospitals, diagnostic chains, and both offline and digital pharmacies. The group is said to have earmarked as much as $4 billion for the business, to gain a foothold in the healthcare space and is talking to investors and lenders to devise a long-term funding plan.

A Metropolis spokesperson declined to comment on the development, whereas email queries sent to Adani Group and Apollo Hospitals went unanswered till press time.

Adani Group is one of India’s largest business conglomerates, with more than $20 billion in annual revenue. It has a presence in power, green energy, infrastructure, food processing, and airports, among other industries.

Metropolis started as a single lab in the 1980s and received its first external funding of ₹35 crore from private equity firm ICICI Venture in 2005. This was followed by $85 million from PE firm Warburg Pincus, providing an exit to ICICI Venture.

In 2015, the founding Shah family bought back a 27% stake of Warburg Pincus for ₹550 crore, with the backing of KKR India. Later in 2015, the company brought marquee investor Carlyle on board when the PE firm bought out co-promoter GSK Velu’s stake in a controversial board battle. The pathology chain operates in 19 states in India, with a strong presence in the western and southern regions. LiveMint

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