* Rhoen says shareholder B. Braun to make legal challenge
* AGM voted to remove barrier to takeovers
* Rhoen says votes cast on behalf of B. Braun invalid
(Rewrites throughout, adds shares)
By Ludwig Burger and Frank Siebelt
FRANKFURT, June 13 (Reuters) - A Rhoen-Klinikum
investor who opposed a takeover of the German hospitals chain
will contest a shareholder vote to remove a barrier to any
future deals, Rhoen said.
Rhoen owners late on Wednesday unexpectedly voted to scrap a
requirement for shareholders holding 90 percent of its capital
to approve major decisions.
That could put Rhoen back in the sights of diversified
healthcare group Fresenius whose 3.1 billion euro
($4.1 billion) takeover attempt was thwarted last year
However, the motion was only passed after votes belonging to
the owner of medical supplies maker B. Braun, a shareholder who
contested the Fresenius deal, were dismissed as invalid.
Rhoen on Thursday said it had been notified by B. Braun's
holding company that it and fellow shareholders would fight the
vote in court. A spokeswoman for B. Braun declined to comment.
The legal challenge means Rhoen is unable to implement the
vote for now.
B. Braun competes with Fresenius in medical equipment such
as infusion and tube feeding supplies as well as dialysis
machines. The privately held group risks losing an important
client if Rhoen became part of Fresenius' hospitals division.
B. Braun and unlisted rival hospital chain Asklepios last
year torpedoed Rhoen's attempted tie-up with Fresenius, buying
enough Rhoen shares between them to have a blocking minority.
The tussle kept a raft of deal-starved merger arbitrage
hedge funds on tenterhooks in the weeks leading up to Fresenius
eventually walking away from its bid.
Rhoen's Chairman and founder Eugen Muench said on Thursday
that B. Braun's representative failed to show he was eligible to
vote at Wednesday' annual general meeting.
Three law firms advised him to dismiss B. Braun's vote, he
Rhoen cautioned that even if the 90 percent acceptance
hurdle is eventually removed, a fresh bid would not be certain.
Rhoen shares surged more than 12 percent on Thursday, paring
gains to 5.8 percent by 1500 GMT.
"Chances for another attempt to take over Rhoen-Klinikum
have clearly increased", despite the legal challenge,
Commerzbank analyst Volker Braun said.
If the 90 percent clause is removed from Rhoen's bylaws,
future strategic moves would require approval by only 75 percent
of shareholders, as is common in Germany.
Fresenius declined to comment, but it has previously said it
remained in principle interested in Rhoen.
($1 = 0.7498 euros)
(Editing by Erica Billingham)