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Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. (OHI) kicked off the new year Monday with an announcement that it was buying MedEquities Realty Trust Inc. (MRT) for $600 million in stock and cash.

Omega said it will pay MedEquities shareholders 0.235 Omega common shares plus $2 in cash for each share of MedEquities common stock. The agreement represents a value of $10.26 per MedEquities share, based on the $35.15 closing price for Omega common stock on Dec. 31.

Shares of MedEquities surged 43.7% to $9.83. Omega stock fell 4.5%.

There are no changes planned to Omega's board or executive officers related to the merger transaction. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

"This acquisition reinforces our commitment to the skilled nursing and senior housing industry, while adding new asset types to our portfolio furthering our strategic objectives."

-- Omega CEO Taylor Pickett

Separately, MedEquities will pay a special cash dividend of 21 cents a share, payable to holders of record of MedEquities common stock as of the end of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on the trading day immediately prior to the closing date of the transaction.

Omega is a real estate investment trust that invests in the long-term healthcare industry, primarily in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. Its portfolio of assets is operated by a diverse group of healthcare companies in both the U.S. and the U.K.

MedEquities is also a REIT that invests in a mix of healthcare properties and healthcare-related real estate debt investments within the acute, post-acute and behavioral sectors of healthcare services, including acute-care hospitals, short-stay and outpatient surgery facilities and diagnostic and behavioral facilities.