SunLink Health Systems, Atlanta, said a recent $4 per share offer for the eight-hospital company doesn't compensate shareholders sufficiently for its long-term value. SunLink also said that a shareholder has filed a class-action lawsuit in Fulton County (Ga.) Superior Court alleging that SunLink initially hid the offer by Attentus Healthcare from shareholders. Attentus, based in Franklin, Tenn., disclosed its offer in a Feb. 12 news release. The lawsuit accuses SunLink and its directors of breaching their fiduciary duty by refusing to negotiate with Attentus and by adopting a measure that requires a dividend payment if any party acquires a 20% stake in the company, a so-called poison pill designed to deter acquirers. The suit noted that SunLink filed a securities report Feb. 8 detailing the poison pill without mentioning the Attentus offer. SunLink said the suit is without merit and it intends to defend itself. Robert Yeager, co-chief executive officer of Attentus, said the privately held company would consider raising its offer but only after beginning talks with SunLink. Attentus does not yet own a hospital. In other investor-owned hospital news, the Federation of American Hospitals said it has accepted five-hospital Essent Healthcare as a member. The federation's annual meeting is set for next week in Washington. -- by Vince Galloro
SunLink says Attentus' takeover bid comes up short
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