Amazon, Flipkart in talks to buy stake in $1 bn diagnostic chain Metropolis


new delhi, may 20: Metropolis Healthcare Ltd., a diagnostics chain operating in India and Africa, is looking to raise more than $300 million and bring onboard a strategic partner by selling a significant minority stake, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company is in early discussions with several global strategic investors and other potential purchasers of the shares, said the people, asking not to be identified because the deliberations aren’t public. Metropolis, traded in Mumbai with a market value of $1.1 billion about half what it was at the start of the year tapped Barclays as an adviser, they said.
A deal would likely include a sale of primary shares as well as secondary shares by existing investors, including the managing director, that could take the deal size over $300 million.
Walmart Inc.-owned retailer Flipkart and listed health-care chain Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. are among potential strategic investors that have signed non-disclosure agreements with Metropolis, while Inc. has held preliminary discussions, said one of the people. Agreements are also in place with global funds including KKR & Co., TPG Inc. and Barings, the person said, while talks are ongoing with Blackstone Inc. Representatives of Metropolis Healthcare, Amazon, Apollo Hospitals, Barings, Blackstone, KKR and TPG declined to comment. Flipkart did not respond to emails seeking comment. A representative for Barclays declined to comment. Shares of Metropolis fell as much as 3.1% on Friday. They have halved since the start of the year amid a broader tech selloff and concerns about intensifying competition.
It has grown as consumers sought out branded operators for tests and scans during the pandemic. The chain was founded in 1981 by Sushil Shah, whose daughter Ameera Shah has since taken the reins. Ameera Shah currently owns 50% of the company and could offload some of her shares in a secondary transaction that could increase the size of the deal, a person familiar with the discussions said.
Diagnostics chains have become targets for the likes of Amazon and Walmart, which are ramping up health-care services to add to their retail offerings in India. Spending on preventive health care such as testing is rising in the country of 1.4 billion people, driven by chronic and lifestyle-related diseases and an aging population.

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