Mindray management $30/share offer seen as opening gambit

As has been widely speculated, senior managers at NYSE-listed China devicemaker Mindray Medical ($MR) offered $30 a share to take the company private, setting a line in the sand that punters, going by the ticker, think will be crossed.

Mindray chairman Li Xiting

Mindray shares reached $30.47 on Thursday after closing the previous day at $27.47 each, a gain of nearly 11% as the board released details of the June 4 offer.

Li Xiting, executive chairman, president and co-CEO; Xu Hang, chairman of the board; and Cheng Minghe, co-CEO and chief strategic officer, who, according to a press release, are collectively known as the "Buyer Group," notified the board of the intention to buy all outstanding shares at $30 each.

Interest in a higher share price than that offer, however, is spurred by market talk that the Buyers Group wants to take the Shenzhen-based company private to coincide with a push by the Chinese government to aggressively implement a policy of import substitution of medical devices.

The plan would see state-run hospitals buy more domestic equipment, though high-end medical devices are still major imports into China.

To avoid conflicts, the Mindray board will form a special committee, as did fellow Chinese company and U.S.-listed WuXi AppTec ($WX) did in a similar plan, to consider the proposal.

Several China drug and device companies that listed in the U.S. have subsequently moved to delist.

In 2012, ShangPharma and 3SBio moved to delist from the U.S. and go private. In 2013, Simcere Pharmaceuticals made its move to go private with an offer from the chairman.

However, this year 3SBio has filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as a key step for an initial public offering that would see it listed again two years after it left the Nasdaq and went private under a $370 million deal done by a consortium led by CEO Jing Lou and investment firm Citic Private Equity.

Other China-based biotech companies such as BeiGene hope to eventually tap the U.S. market for a listing.

- here's the Mindray release
- get FierceMedicalDevices' take