**SPECIAL UPDATE** Formation back in the hunt for Beverly

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Less than two days after announcing a winning buyout bid, Beverly Enterprises officials say they have received a new, better offer. As a result, Formation Capital appears to again be the leading suitor for one of the nation's largest nursing home operators.

Formation offered an additional 10 cents per share, surpassing the $12.80 per share, $1.9 billion all-cash deal that Beverly officials earlier planned to accept from North American Senior Care.

The Formation group made an unsolicited $11.50-per-share bid in January, setting off what would become a hostile takeover attempt. That led Beverly leaders to declare in March that they would auction off the company on their own terms.

The counter bidding may not be over: Beverly had said Wednesday that 10 of 47 firms it contacting made initial offers for the company. BEI, as Beverly became officially known earlier this year, said it could not terminate its deal with North American Senior Care until Tuesday (Aug. 23).

BEI holdings include 345 nursing homes, as well as assisted living centers and affiliated hospice, therapy and design businesses. While North American Senior Care said Wednesday it was intent on retaining Beverly's senior care businesses and headquarters in place, Formation's Whitman told McKnight's Long-Term Care News earlier this year, his group would sell them off and retain only the nursing home operations, dividing them into smaller regional entities. It was not clear this morning whether or not those plans had changed.