HCA looks to raise $3 billion through potential public offering

More than three years after going private in a $33 billion leveraged buyout, Tennessee-based hospital chain HCA Inc., is preparing for re-entry into public life via an initial public offering that could raise more than $3 billion. The primary motivation behind HCA's move likely is to try to chip away at $25.7 billion worth of debt, Bloomberg reports. 

The timing couldn't be better for HCA, as healthcare reform will help lower its charity care and uncollectible bill losses, wrote Barclays Capital analyst Adam Feinstein in a note to investors late last month. CRT Capital's Sheryl Skolnick agrees, but says HCA needs to act fast. 

"You're in a sweet spot between the time health reform has been passed and before it's implemented," Skolnick said, according to The Tennessean. "If you wait too long, you run the risk that visibility will be cloudy getting closer to implementation. Doing it now builds up the confidence level of the market that HCA will be able to withstand the effects of [change]." 

HCA's move would represent the biggest IPO in the U.S. since Visa's March 2008 IPO raised $20 billion. The hospital chain is the largest in the U.S., with 163 hospitals and 105 outpatient-surgery clinics in 20 states and England, Bloomberg reports.

Interviews for possible underwriters of the offering could occur within the next few weeks.

To learn more:
- read this Bloomberg article
- here's the piece in The Tennessean