Health Management Associates, Inc. (NYSE: HMA) today announced that a subsidiary has executed a definitive agreement to partner with the 480-bed Bayfront Health System, located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The transaction is subject to the execution of a lease agreement between the partnership and the City of St. Petersburg, as well as customary regulatory approvals. “We have been very pleased with the collaborative process and the hard work everyone is doing to make this partnership a reality,” said Gary D. Newsome, President and Chief Executive Officer of Health Management. “We continue to work closely with Bayfront’s senior leaders, Board of Trustees, and the St. Petersburg City Council to modernize the lease agreement and to create a partnership that will serve the needs of the citizens of the St. Petersburg community for generations to come. We are committed to high quality care and to positioning Bayfront as a flagship tertiary hospital for the entire region.” As part of the joint venture, Health Management will acquire an 80% interest in Bayfront Health System, and introduce an affiliation with ShandsHealthCare, part of UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center. Although terms of the transaction have not been disclosed, net proceeds of approximately $150 million will be invested in the new Bayfront HERO (Health, Education and Research Organization) Foundation. This foundation will invest in research and education in partnership with Bayfront Health System, Johns Hopkins/All Children’s Healthcare and other healthcare and academic partners. Bayfront HERO will invest in a 20 percent ownership stake in the partnership. “Partnering with Bayfront Health System is a very exciting opportunity to not only strengthen our network of services in west central and southwestern Florida, but combine a shared culture of patient focused health care delivery,” added Newsome. “This partnership underscores our commitment to enabling America’s best local health care through strategic investments in existing regions to improve access to high quality health care services for the communities we serve. We look forward to working together with the physicians, medical professionals and hospital staff to continue Bayfront’s more than 100-year history of delivering high quality health care to west-central Floridians. Together we can improve our ability to anticipate and exceed our customers’ expectations for world-class health care.”
Community Health Systems may close its $7.6 billion acquisition of Health Management Associates, but with the uncertainties of a new healthcare law and the merger partners' own legal problems, it needed good timing to put reasonable financing in place.