Late Tuesday, Community announced its first major asset sale since becoming the nation's largest publicly traded hospital chain. The Franklin, Tenn., company will shed nine hospitals, collecting $315 million in proceeds, as it seeks to rebuild its balance sheet after this year's multibillion-dollar purchase of Triad.
Community expects to turn over the hospitals to privately held Capella Healthcare by the end of January.
Community's shares were climbing 7.3% to $33.02 following the news.The deal will trim Community's hospital count, currently at 128, by roughly 9%. It includes more facilities -- but at a cheaper price -- than some analysts had anticipated. "The sale price is a relatively low valuation compared to that implied by the purchase price for all of Triad," observed Cowen analyst Kemp Dolliver, who has a neutral rating on Community's stock. "The package includes a mix of highly profitable hospitals and unprofitable hospitals." Looking ahead, "additional divestitures remain possible," Dolliver added. Critics have