Southern Cross recovers following private equity talk

Shares in Southern Cross have soared on news that the UK care home operator’s market vulnerability had made it appealing to private equity suitors.

Reports emerged that private equity firms including The Blackstone Group, Apax Partners and Cinven were following Southern Cross’ progress after it lost three quarters of its market value last week due to a profit warning and financial troubles.

However, the speculation has reversed the downward trend in the care home operator’s share price. At 8.50am GMT today, shares were trading at 102.5p, up 21.3% on yesterday’s close of 84.25p.

Blackstone’s interest would be controversial as the US-listed buyout giant floated the business just two years ago on the London Stock Exchange at 225p per share.

The Financial Times cited sources close to the company saying that shareholders would be unlikely to agree to a sale while shares are trading at such a historic low. In addition, the report quoted chief executive Bill Colvin saying that no approaches from private equity have yet been received.