Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How much would you pay for this hospital chain?

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is running an auction to sell Iasis, a chain of 18 acute-care hospitals in urban and suburban markets in seven Southern and Western states. The winning price is expected to be about $2.4 billion, or 8 times trailing Ebitda.

Usually, investment bankers will informally "shop" the assets around, which can be thought of as more of a negotiation than a formal auction.

...use negotiation when flexibility (like change orders) is important, as is likely for large complex projects; and if you negotiate, use a reputable firm because you are subject to hold up when unforeseen contingencies arise. Contracting with a reputable firm can reduce the risk of hold-up.

In this case, I suspect that what the papers are reporting as an auction, is better described as a negotiation. BofA/Merrill has a reputation to protect.

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