Prime Healthcare Rescues Los Angeles-Area Hospital

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has approved the company's $350 million acquisition of St. Francis Medical Center, a 384-bed hospital in Lynwood, Calif.

St. Francis Medical Center. Image courtesy of Prime Healthcare

Prime Healthcare has received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles to acquire St. Francis Medical Center, a 384-bed health-care facility in Lynwood, Calif. Prime will purchase the Los Angeles-area property from Verity Health System in a $350 million transaction.

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Founded in 1945, St. Francis occupies 14 acres at 3630 East Imperial Highway. The campus has grown to encompass approximately 600,000 square feet of buildings ranging in size from roughly 37,000 to 222,000 square feet, according to Los Angeles County records. Today, the hospital is the site of one of the largest private emergency trauma centers in L.A. County.

Per terms of the asset purchase agreement, Prime will pay a $200 million base price for St. Francis and the hospital company will also invest approximately $47 million in capital improvements. The court-supervised transaction is on track to reach completion, pending regulatory review and other closing conditions. Prime has a history of rescuing distressed hospitals. In 2013, the company acquired Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, R.I., and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island in North Smithfield, effectively ending five years of financial hardship for the properties, which had become insolvent in 2008. Since 2005, Prime has invested more than $1 billion in capital improvements and equipment at its properties.

Hospital trading

Health-care transactions have been on the rise over the last few years, with the total deal value—excluding megadeals—increasing 77 percent in 2018 and 2019, according to a report by PwC. Hospitals played a notable role in the upswing. Hospitals were among three sub-sectors that grew in both volume and value in 2019. Additionally, the report noted, “Looking to quarterly performance, hospitals was the only sub-sector whose volumes grew on a year-over-year basis in each of the last three quarters of 2019.”

Deals on the high end in 2019 included Medical Properties Trust Inc.’s commitment to invest $1.6 billion in Prospect Medical Holdings’ multi-state portfolio via a sale-leaseback transaction. At the opposite end of the dollar-value spectrum, Cornerstone Healthcare Group purchased the 65-bed long-term acute care hospital in HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center’s North Tower from HCA Houston Healthcare.

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