With an investor partnership led by Timothy Aitken out of the running, Apria Healthcare Group's future remains uncertain after seven months of looking for a buyer.
Aitken, Apria's former vice chairman and current chairman and chief executive officer of Transworld HealthCare of New York, said his company and its largest stockholder, Uniondale, N.Y.-based Hyperion Partners, don't have plans to pursue a hostile takeover.
The decision came after Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Apria rejected a bid of about $1.3 billion from Transworld and Hyperion. Apria based the rejection on the recommendation of its board, which concluded the bid wasn't in the best interest of stockholders (Jan. 12, p. 4).
Apria would offer no details about the bid rejection. Sheree Aronson, director of investor relations, confirmed that several other companies are interested in a deal.
Analysts say clashes Aitken had two years ago with Apria Chairman and CEO Jeremy Jones had not been forgotten. Aitken, who helped form Apria through the June 1995 merger of Abbey Healthcare Group and Homedco Group, left Apria after serving as its vice chairman from June to November 1995. He and Jones had disagreed frequently over Apria's management.
"There are layers of government and management in (Apria) that make my business hairs stand on end," Aitken said last week. Transworld "was prepared to work with them and did so in good faith."
Apria's rejection is also a setback for Hyperion Chairman Lewis Ranieri, who built an empire selling a new class of securities backed by home mortgages in the early 1980s as vice chairman at Salomon Brothers in New York. The deal would have been Ranieri's first major foray into healthcare.
Apria said it continues to work with its investment adviser, which it hired in June. Goldman Sachs & Co. has sought proposals for sale, merger or recapitalization of Apria.
Apria provides home-care services through 350 locations nationwide and has annual revenues of $1.2 billion. Transworld has annual revenues of $100 million and provides home care in Florida, New Jersey, New York and the United Kingdom.