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SHANGHAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd is bidding 451 million euros ($580 million) for Portugal's Espirito Santo Saude (ESS), weighing into a takeover battle for the hospital business of the indebted Espirito Santo family.
Fosun bid 4.72 euro per share through its Portuguese subsidiary Fidelidade, Fosun said in a statement on Tuesday, trumping earlier bids from Portuguese healthcare firm Jose de Mello Saude and Mexico's Grupo Angeles. The latter bid 4.5 euros per share earlier this week.
Fosun, China's answer to Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, has been increasingly active on the global stage, snapping up Portuguese insurer Caixa Seguros e Saude in January and upping a bid for holiday group Club Mediterranee SA this month.
Fosun is also looking to boost its private healthcare business, a growing area in China as the government looks to open the sector up to private capital. ESS owns hospitals, clinics and elderly care homes around Portugal.
ESS is 51 percent owned by the beleaguered Espirito Santo family, whose main holding companies need to sell assets after filing for creditor protection in July under a mountain of debt.
The takeover battle has helped drive ESS's shares up 51.6 percent this year, far outflanking the wider market.
$1 dollar = 0.78 euro Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Christopher Cushing