Ardent Health Services, Nashville, said it will pay $281.2 million to acquire not-for-profit Hillcrest HealthCare System, Tulsa, Okla., and also will commit to investing $100 million in the system. Hillcrest owns three hospitals in Tulsa and operates 10 other hospitals in Oklahoma through lease arrangements. In a joint news release with Ardent, Hillcrest said the sales proceeds will allow it to repay outstanding bonds and set aside funds for a community foundation, which also will incorporate money from two other existing foundations. Privately held Ardent said the deal is expected to close this summer, pending regulatory approvals. The deal is Ardent's first significant acquisition since it closed on two deals involving five hospitals, a health plan and a physician group in Albuquerque in late 2002 and early 2003. Ardent officials said last month that they are looking for not-for-profit joint-venture partners and acquisitions. Ardent owns or operates seven rehabilitation and acute-care hospitals and 20 behavioral health hospitals. -- by Vince Galloro
Ardent to buy Okla. system for $281 million
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