Tuesday 20 February 2018

Blackrock Clinic's key investors try to stop takeover

The Blackrock Clinic
The Blackrock Clinic
Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

BLACKROCK Clinic's main shareholders are fighting to prevent a notoriously combative UK hedge fund from gaining control of a large stake in the centre.

Shareholders Joe Sheehan and John Flynn lodged proceedings in a district court in New York last week in a bid to stop British hedge fund manager Chris Hohn, his fund TCI and some subsidiaries from gaining control of a 48pc shareholding, according to several media reports published over the weekend.

Other Blackrock Clinic shareholders – such as beef baron Larry Goodman and clinic founder Jimmy Sheehan – do not appear to have taken any action against Mr Hohn.

But they could be forced to sell their stakes in the private clinic if Mr Hohn succeeds in his plan to buy the stakes belonging to Joe Sheehan and John Flynn.

Stake

The hedge fund appears to have bought a 28pc stake in Blackrock Clinic bought by Joe Sheehan with funding from the former Anglo Irish Bank. It may also try to buy a 20pc stake owned by developer John Flynn, which is currently controlled by NAMA, reports added. Mr Flynn is seeking damages of €30m in a US court.

Private hospitals expanded too rapidly during the boom and many of them are now suffering from too much debt.

Businessman Denis O'Brien gained control of the Beacon Hospital, which is close to the Blackrock Clinic in south Dublin, just a few weeks ago.

Others, such as the Mount Carmel maternity hospital, have closed as people opt out of private health insurance.

Mr Hohn (47) is one of the most controversial hedge fund managers in Britain. But he is also one of the UK's biggest philanthropists and gave away £1bn (€1.24bn) in the five years to 2011. He is also known for leading a simple lifestyle.

His TCI hedge fund, which stands for The Children's Investment Fund, is the biggest private shareholder in Royal Mail with £200m (€306m) worth of shares.

Irish Independent

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