A company that provides hospice and home health care services in the Charleston area and other South Carolina cities is just saying no to an unsolicited buyout offer.

Gentiva Health Services has formally spurned the $533 million bid from Kindred Healthcare.

Also, Gentiva's board has adopted a "poison pill" strategy designed to make an unfriendly sale prohibitively expensive. It said in a statement that the buyout offer "significantly undervalues Gentiva, is inadequate and is not in the best interests of the company or its shareholders."

In a letter to Gentiva's board, Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred said it was "disappointed" with the response but that it isn't giving up.

"Despite Gentiva's actions, we will not be deterred," Kindred CEO Paul Diaz wrote. "We are determined to pursue the proposed combination of Kindred and Gentiva and are committed over the long-term to achieving our objective."

Kindred runs nursing and rehabilitation centers, and provides home hospice and health services. The combined company would operate in 47 states and serve nearly 127,000 patients each day.

Gentiva has 10 home health care locations in S.C., including one in North Charleston. Its hospice centers in the state are in Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Greenville and Spartanburg, says its website.

Until last year, Kindred had operated a rehabilitation hospital in the Charleston area for more than a decade. Initially, it leased space in the old Charleston Memorial Hospital on the peninsula starting in 2002. Kindred then bought and renovated the vacant former East Cooper Regional Medical Center near U.S. Highway 17 and Bowman Road in Mount Pleasant and relocated there in 2012. It exited the local market last summer when it sold the 94-bed facility to Vibra Healthcare for $22.6 million.

An update on the takeover could come this week, when Gentiva and Kindred are set to appear at the Jefferies 2014 Global Healthcare Conference in New York. Kindred representatives will talk Monday at 4 p.m. Gentiva execs will present at 11 a.m. Wednesday to "discuss the company's operations and strategic priorities," according to a statement.

Back for seconds

The general manager for the new Ruth's Chris Steak House is coming from Georgia, but he's well-acquainted with the dining scene in downtown Charleston.

John St. John was GM of Maverick Southern Kitchens' High Cotton from 2009 to 2012. He will oversee the new high-end steakhouse to be located in the French Quarter Inn near the City Market. For the past year, he's managed the Ruth's Chris in the upscale Buckhead area of Atlanta.

"St. John's enthusiasm for extraordinary service makes him a driven leader ... to prepare the new staff to provide the standard of service characteristic of Ruth's Chris Steak House," Charleston franchise co-owner Nancy Oswald said.

She also noted it's "excep-tionally fitting that our Charleston restaurant will be situated adjacent to the French Quarter Inn as New Orleans is the birthplace of the Ruth's Chris brand and a significant part of our culinary heritage."

Oswald and husband Mark Oswald, are the largest franchisees of the international dining chain. They co-own and operate Ruth's Chris restaurants in Columbia, Greenville and Myrtle Beach as well as others in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The Charleston location is expected to open in the fall.

Capital injection

A Charleston-based medical equipment company is receiving a dose of capital.

The S.C. Research Authority's Technology Ventures' SC Launch board recently OK'd a first-round investment for PharmRight. The amount was not disclosed.

Founded in 2013, PharmRight has developed PharmMate, an automated medication dispensing appliance for in-home use. The Daniel Island company's software and cloud computing applications monitor and report medication compliance to caregivers via the Web and mobile.

SC Launch also provided funding to Bluffton's TriCap. The high-tech financial services firm designed and operates the ARxChange, a trading platform that allows health care systems to value, segment by risk and sell or secure guaranteed returns for their medical receivables.

High bid, high-rise

Call it a tall order filled.

An East Cooper-based real estate investment firm appears to have snagged a buyer for a commercial high-rise it owns on the N.C. coast.

Published reports last week say the historic Murchinson Building in downtown Wilmington fetched $1.43 million at auction. The 11-story, 61,000-square-foot structure has been owned by Mount Pleasant-based Ziff Properties Inc. since the 1990s. A $2 million renovation was announced more than a year ago.

The half-empty structure was listed on Auction.com in April with a starting price of $350,000. Ziff said it was selling to focus on other commercial real estate investment opportunities.

When online bidding ended Wednesday, the highest offer came from Wilmington Development LLC.

The Historic Wilmington Foundation preservation group said the sale means it won't be placing the Front Street property on its annual "Most Threatened Historic Places" list, according to media reports.

The deal could take 30-45 days to finalize.