Ardent Health, LHP Hospital Group Enter Merger Agreement

October 5, 2016 4:36 PM EDT

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Ardent Health Services (and LHP Hospital Group, Inc. announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which the two companies will merge their operations. The transaction will create the second largest private, for-profit hospital operator in the United States with 19 hospitals across six states and $3 billion in revenues. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Ardent currently operates three health systems with 14 hospitals and employs multi-specialty physicians in nearly 100 clinic locations across New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. LHP operates five acute-care hospitals in Florida, Idaho, New Jersey and Texas with its joint venture partners, which include leading not-for-profit and academic medical centers. LHP's hospitals include:

  • Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Florida – a joint venture with Sacred Heart Health System
  • HUMC Mountainside in Montclair, New Jersey – a joint venture with HackensackUMC, a subsidiary of Hackensack Meridian
  • HUMC at Pascack Valley in Westwood, New Jersey – a joint venture with HackensackUMC, a subsidiary of Hackensack Meridian
  • Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho – a joint venture with Portneuf Health Trust, Inc.
  • Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights, Texas – a joint venture with Seton Healthcare Family

Under the terms of the agreement, Ardent will assume LHP's management and operational responsibilities within each joint venture partnership. The transaction is not expected to impact the day-to-day operations of the affiliated hospitals.

Through this transaction, Ardent will operate 3,200 patient beds across six states with approximately 18,000 employees, including more than 475 employed physicians. The transaction will diversify and grow the Company's quality portfolio of hospitals through partnerships with top-tier, not-for-profit and academic health systems.

"This is a transformative growth opportunity for Ardent that will provide significant benefits to each of the communities our companies serve," said David T. Vandewater, president and CEO of Ardent Health Services. "In addition to combining two organizations with similar operating philosophies and a strong focus on local partnerships and collaboration, this transaction dramatically enhances our scale, diversity and geographic reach – creating new synergies that better position us for future growth and investment in new and existing markets. We look forward to working closely with the outstanding employees, physicians, nurses and partners associated with LHP to advance our shared goals."

Once complete, the Ardent management team will continue to lead the Company with the assistance of key LHP executives. Ardent will remain headquartered in Nashville.

"LHP's decisions have always been driven by our commitment to advance our mission of restoring and enhancing the health of our patients," said John Holland, president and CEO of LHP Hospital Group. "We recognized we had a unique opportunity to accelerate that mission by joining forces with Ardent and tapping into their exceptional resources, skills, track record and reach."

The transaction is expected to close in early 2017, pending customary regulatory reviews and approvals. Ardent expects to fund the transaction primarily through secured debt financing, as well as through equity capital provided principally by its majority owner, an affiliate of Equity Group Investments (EGI). Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: VTR) has provided a commitment for secured debt financing for the transaction.

Citigroup acted as exclusive financial advisor to LHP in this transaction.



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