Ramsay Healthcare, the largest private hospitals group in Australia, has bought the UK's fourth largest private hospitals operator Capio UK for £193 million, it has been confirmed.
The hospital group, which includes the Nightingale Clinic and Harley Street's Capio eye clinic, consists of 22 hospitals and has nine independent treatment centres serving NHS patients.
According to Ramsay chief executive Pat Grier, Capio's network of sites will be used to push the group's proposed expansion throughout Europe.
"The UK hospital market is going through a period of fundamental change and now allows public patients to choose whether they want to go to a private or public hospital.
"This acquisition allows us to achieve critical mass throughout the UK in a market offering good growth prospects," he said.
The UK government's decision to outsource some areas of healthcare to the private sector has increased interest from a number of bidders, including Blackstone, Cinven and South Africa's Life Healthcare, the Independent reports.
Mr Grier noted: "Recent success in winning contracts for NHS outsourced services will provide Capio UK with strong revenue and earnings growth over the near-term and a solid foundation for capturing a larger market share of NHS outsourced services in the medium-to-longer term."
What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?