The hospital operator has sold its UK diagnostic business Alliance Medical ( to Icon Infrastructure for just more than R21bn. The price tag is a meagre return on the R14bn-plus Life Healthcare paid in 2016 for Alliance Medical, which provides imaging services across Europe. The sale will hurt the R30bn private healthcare group in the long run. 

Sure, shareholders, who have been pushing for the sale since February, will argue that the transaction will allow Life Healthcare to sharpen its focus on its core domestic market and reduce debt. They will contend that the transaction will boost shareholder returns as the company will hand most of the proceeds to investors. They may also point out that shares in Life Healthcare have risen by almost a fifth since it first flagged the potential deal...

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