Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that private equity firms have approached Mitsui to partner on acquiring the remaining shares in IHH.

Mitsui has contacted IHH’s second major shareholder, Khazanah Nasional, to discuss the deal, reports added.

However, discussions are said to be in early stages and Mitsui may not proceed with a bid.

In 2018, Mitsui purchased 16% stake in IHH from a wholly owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional for approximately MYR8.4bn ($2bn).

This increased Mitsui’s total ownership in IHH to about 32.9%, making it the largest shareholder in the hospital group.

Mitsui first made an investment in the group in 2011 and since then supported its geographical and business expansion through local partners and healthcare-related services across developed countries.

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Considered a large private hospital group in Asia, IHH has 80 hospitals with a total of more than 15,000 beds in ten countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey and India. It employs over 65,000 people.

Apart from primary care and acute medical treatment, the hospital group also provides diagnostic services. It additionally operates imaging centres, specialised clinics and medical education facilities.

In March this year, Bloomberg reported that the group is exploring sale of its medical education arm for $300m.

Founded in 2010, IHH portfolio of healthcare brands include Acibadem, Fortis and Gleneagles.