National Senior Care sounds like the kind of company that would buy a nursing home operator. Last week, National, based in Sparks, Md., offered to buy Mariner Health Care, Atlanta, and take it private for $1 billion, including about $385 million in Mariner debt that National will pay off.
Mariner operates 263 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities and 11 long-term acute-care hospitals and had revenue of $1.75 billion in 2003, making it the fourth-largest company to respond to Modern Healthcare's post-acute-care survey (April 12, p. 24). Mariner owns, leases or manages facilities in 21 states, with its highest concentrations of facilities in Texas (76), North Carolina (31), California (30) and Colorado (30), according to its annual securities filing.
Mariner was one of five publicly traded nursing home companies to file for bankruptcy after sharp cuts in Medicare reimbursements under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2000 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., and emerged from bankruptcy in 2002.
Much less is known about National or its plans for Mariner. The company and the subsidiary that is directly acquiring Mariner were both incorporated in Delaware on May 7, according to the Delaware Department of State. Mariner, as a publicly traded company, issued a news release about the deal, but National did not provide any contact information. A Mariner spokeswoman said she could not say any more about privately held National than what is in the news release.
That release said that "Affiliates of NSC control more than 50 long-term healthcare facilities located throughout the country with facility concentrations in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina." National generally leases the facilities to third-party operators, the release said.
A source who is familiar with the situation but not connected to the deal said the investors behind National are the investors who bought the nursing home and contract therapy subsidiaries from the former Integrated Health Services, also based in Sparks, Md. The investors specialize in real estate and are not healthcare operators, the source added.
Leonard Grunstein, the lawyer who represents National, is a New York real estate attorney, according to published reports. Grunstein did not return calls for comment. The deal must be approved by Mariner shareholders and regulators and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.