Attentus Healthcare, Franklin, Tenn., offered 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. 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. SunLink's shares closed at $3.46, up 25%. Earlier in the week, SunLink said its board had adopted a "shareholder rights plan" that would make a hostile takeover of the company more difficult. 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.
Bon Secours under scrutiny
Bon Secours Health System, Marriottsville, Md., is drawing scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore after disclosing earlier this year that a former chief financial officer at Bon Secours Cottage Health Services in Grosse Pointe, Mich., had intentionally inflated the hospital's earnings. Bon Secours was subpoenaed by the U.S. attorney's office for documents related to accounting irregularities at Cottage Health and a nursing home in St. Clair Shores, Mich., and the SEC told the system it had started an informal inquiry into the matter, the Bond Buyer reported. Bon Secours' audit committee concluded that a former CFO at Cottage Health intentionally overstated operating income and assets while understating liabilities over a seven-year period. Bon Secours, which operates 24 hospitals in nine states, said it would restate net income for the past two years. An SEC spokesman declined to comment on the inquiry. Bon Secours and the U.S. attorney's office did not return calls by deadline.