gentivaGentiva Health Services, a home healthcare provider, has engaged Kekst and Company for PR support as it works to fend off a $533M hostile bid from hospital operator Kindred Healthcare.

Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is working with Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred, which has also engaged proxy solicitation firm D.F. King & Co.

After Kindred went public with a $14-per-share cash and stock offer on May 15, the board of Atlanta-based Gentiva said Kindred's proposal "significantly undervalues" the company.

Gentiva works with Brainerd Communications for day-to-day corporate communications.

Kindred, which said it is willing to increase its bid to an all-cash offer, pegged the full value of its offer is $1.6B when including assumption of Gentiva debt. CEO Paul Diaz said of the pitch: "This compelling combination would unite two highly complementary businesses by joining Kindred’s resources with Gentiva’s home health and hospice capabilities."

Susan Moss is senior VP of marketing and communications for Kindred.

Gentiva also hired law firm Greenberg Traurig and financial advisors Barclays Capital and Edge Healthcare Partners. Kindred is working with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Citi.