Beverly gets interest from more than 12 possible buyers

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More than a dozen interested parties have approached BEI since it opted to sell itself in an auction last month, the Fort Smith, AR-based nursing home chain disclosed this week.

"Interest in the company is robust," the company said in a letter to stockholders. Its financial advisors, Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan, have received requests from parties in connection with a possible purchase.

BEI has signed confidentiality agreements with "a number of" potential bidders, according to officials from the company, which until early this year was known as Beverly Enterprises Inc. To allow potential bidders who have signed agreements to move forward, it established an online data room that became operational this week.

The company said last month it put itself up for auction as a result of a major turnover in shareholders following the hostile takeover bid of Formation Capital and its partners. Formation in January offered to purchase BEI for $11.50 a share. BEI declined the offer, but the bid prompted a surge in interest in the company from short-term shareholders.