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The fate of the U.K.'s largest care homes operator Four Seasons is set to be decided within the next few weeks when the company will agree to sell the company outright or reach a refinancing deal with existing shareholders, previously lenders to the business, people familiar with the situation told Dow Jones Newswires Monday.
Potential buyers of the company include Guy Hands' Terra Firma and a consortium of U.S. healthcare specialist Formation Capital and London-based private equity firm Patron Capital, the people said. It is unclear whether CVC Capital Partners remains in the process.
Bids for the company are due April 25, one person said.
Meanwhile the company remains in talks with existing shareholders led by Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) about a refinancing deal, which could involve RBS and other creditors-turned-holders putting in more equity and a new investor taking a minority interest.
Four Seasons had total debt of around GBP1.5 billion in 2009 when it completed a capital restructuring in which certain of its lenders exchanged debts of around GBP780 million owed to them for a stake in the business. RBS is the company's largest shareholder with around 40% of the equity. The balance of the debt comprises publicly traded bonds which must be repaid by a September deadline.
NM Rothschild and Gleacher Shacklock are advising Four Seasons which has been valued at up to GBP900 million.
-By Marietta Cauchi, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9241; email@example.com