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IHH Healthcare's Fortis takeover deal put on hold by India's top court

Kuala Lumpur-based IHH Healthcare Bhd. said its mandatory open offer to acquire up to 197,025,660 shares of Fortis Healthcare Ltd., equivalent to a 26% stake, would not proceed until further notice following an order by India's top court.

In July, the debt-laden Indian hospital chain operator accepted IHH Healthcare's investment offer of 40 billion Indian rupees for an initial 31.1% stake, ending a monthslong bidding war. IHH had an option to purchase an additional 26% stake for up to 33 billion rupees, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

The Supreme Court of India ordered a stay on the deal following a filing from Tokyo-based Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd., which alleged that Fortis founders Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh pledged their shares in the company in violation of court orders, The Star Online (Malaysia) reported. India's Delhi High Court has ordered the brothers to pay Daiichi Sankyo in a separate case, preventing them from selling their assets in companies including Fortis Healthcare to ensure that they have funds to fulfill their potential liability.

IHH's board clarified that the company is not a party to the court proceedings and the order does not affect the aforementioned sale of a 31.1% stake, equivalent to 235,294,117 Fortis shares. IHH said it is assessing the court order and seeking legal advice on the matter.