UPDATE 1-Australian aged-care firm Regis gets $406 mln offer from shareholder, investment firm

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Nov 19 (Reuters) - Regis Healthcare Ltd’s top shareholder and Australian investment firm Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co on Thursday offered to buy the struggling old-age home operator for A$556.4 million ($405.84 million).

Washington H. Soul said it and Ashburn Pty Ltd are offering A$1.85 per share, a premium of 25.4% to Regis’ last closing price. Ashburn owns 27.2% of Regis.

“Given the regulatory uncertainty and funding challenges currently facing the aged care industry, WHSP believes that Regis’ long-term prospects will be best served in a privately owned setting,” said Rob Millner, chairman of Washington H. Soul.

Regis’ stock has lost about 40% in value year-to-date as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed costs higher and led to several infections at its old-age homes.

The company, which earlier reported a 54% drop in underlying net profit after tax for the full year, had net debt of A$236.7 million as of June 30.

Regis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

$1 = 1.3710 Australian dollars Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.