Constantine Hampers has never been one to pass up an opportunity.
The 62-year-old Hampers is a nephrologist and onetime Harvard Medical School faculty member who co-founded National Medical Care, a dialysis company, with fellow physician Edward Hager in 1968.
NMC kept overhead costs low and patient flow high primarily because it operated outside the hospital. In 1973, HCFA began to reimburse for dialysis services under Medicare, and NMC's profits went through the roof. The Waltham, Mass.-based company quickly became the nation's largest provider of outpatient dialysis services, operating more than 600 dialysis centers worldwide.
Hager left NMC in 1980, while Hampers continued to run it until 1984, when specialty chemicals manufacturer W.R. Grace & Co. made a bid to buy NMC. The $460 million acquisition occurred in phases with Grace acquiring full control of the company by 1992. Although Hampers couldn't be reached for comment, published reports indicated the deal netted him about $100 million.
Even with NMC under Grace ownership, Hampers continued to run the show, Grace officials have publicly stated. NMC, which in addition to dialysis now offers home infusion and respiratory services, anchors the most profitable Grace subsidiary-generating $1.9 billion in revenues for Grace last year.
When Grace Chief Executive Officer J.P. Bolduc abruptly resigned in March, Hampers aggressively campaigned for the position. But Grace's board passed him over, hiring outsider Albert Costello earlier this month.
Days after Costello's hiring, Hampers made a surprise offer to reacquire NMC for $3.5 billion. Hampers' offer will be taken under consideration over the next two months, Costello told Grace's shareholders last week.