Report: HCA could file for IPO in May

Offering would take aim at hospital giant's debt burden

Hospital titan HCA is preparing to sell a chunk of its shares to the public in the near future, according to a report by Bloomberg.

An IPO by Nashville-based HCA has been widely expected and anticipated, particularly since the passage of health care reform, which has been viewed as a positive for hospital companies because it will bring more than 30 million people onto insurance companies' rolls.

The Bloomberg report features sources saying HCA could offer its shares to the public as early as next month and would look to raise about $3 billion. The sources also said the proceeds of the offering would go toward reducing the company's massive debt load – which stood at almost $26 billion at the end of 2009 – rather than let private-equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bain Capital as well as the Frist family cash out part of their stakes.

HCA officials on Thursday afternoon said they would not comment on the report.