Attentus Healthcare, Franklin, Tenn., said it is offering to buy SunLink Health Systems, Atlanta, and take the eight-hospital company private in a deal valued at about $25.2 million. Robert Thornton Jr., SunLink's chairman and chief executive officer, declined to address the offer during a previously scheduled conference call with investors today. Privately held Attentus, which was recently formed by former HCA and Quorum Health Group executives Richard Gore and Robert Yeager, is offering $4 for each of SunLink's 6.3 million outstanding shares, or about $1.25 more per share than SunLink shares were worth at the close of Thursday trading. SunLink's shares spiked to $3.60 in midday trading today. Earlier this week, however, SunLink said its board had adopted a "shareholder rights plan" that would make a hostile takeover of the company more difficult and "encourage anyone attempting to acquire the company to first negotiate with the board."
SunLink also announced financial results for the quarter ended Dec. 31. The company lost $118,000, or 2 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter, compared with a loss of $986,000, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 51.3% to $35.8 million, partly on the strength of SunLink's October 2003 acquisition of HealthMont, Franklin, Tenn. HealthMont's two hospitals lost about $100,000 on operations, Thornton said. "They actually made progress in the quarter," he said. "They were pretty beaten down by the time we made the deal." -- by Vince Galloro