Speculation is swirling about whether a change of control could be underway at Health Management Associates.
With its peers trading in the red, shares of the Naples, Fla.-based hospital operator closed up almost 4% Wednesday at $12.25 and nearly 11% higher than Friday's close. It is the largest recovery the company has had since April 10, when shares took a nosedive on first-quarter financial results that were well below expectations.
Today's upswing follows the company's announcement Tuesday that President and CEO Gary Newsome, 55, is retiring from the company to pursue missionary work in South America.
News of his departure, which is effective July 31, came just days after HMA went on the defensive to prevent a potential takeover, adopting a shareholder rights plan that will go into effect if any investor tries to acquire more than 15% of the company. HMA acted in response to Glenview Capital Management signaling that it plans to become an activist investor and filing for antitrust approval to acquire up to 75% of the company's shares—something the hedge fund later said it has no intention to carry out.