Woolworths (ASX:WOW) unveils surprise $872m bid for Priceline owner

Supermarket giant Woolworths (ASX:WOW) has emerged as a rival buyer for Priceline owner API (ASX:API) with a $870 million offer, a move that would see one Woolies spread its wings into the healthcare space.The deal is to acquire 100 per cent of the shares in API at a price of $1.75 a share valuing the business at $872 million.

The bid is ahead of the Wesfarmers’ (ASX:WES) offer of $1.55 a share which was proposed in July that triggered a bidding tug of war with Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG), who are behind the Amcal and Guardian brands after its $773.5 million bid that was withdrawn in early November.

The API board recommended shareholders vote in favour of Wesfarmers to acquire the business las month, however, with the surprise offer by Woolworths, tensions are mounting on who will be the new owner of API.

Shares in Woolworths (ASX:WOW) is trading 0.2 per cent lower at $39.75, while shares in Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) is up 0.7 per cent at $57.42, though shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) are surging 16.7 per cent at $1.74.