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HEALTH

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

National Medical Withdraws Offer: The Santa Monica-based hospital firm said it wants to drop its previously announced offer to exchange bonds and warrants for up to 20 million of its 175 million shares. The NME offer was made on Oct. 18, after a plunge in the company’s stock price on allegations of fraudulent billing at some of its psychiatric hospitals. The exchange offer, involving seven-year bonds expected to pay 8.7% annually, was designed to bolster the stock price by offering unhappy investors an alternative to selling their shares in the market. However, the stock has fallen from $17.375 on the day of the exchange offer to $15 last Friday, a sign that Wall Street wasn’t excited about the offer. NME said it will instead resume open-market purchases of its shares, but it did not specify how many shares might be repurchased. The stock gained 37.5 cents to $15.375 on Monday.


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