Trend: Healthcare chains pick up acquisitions pace

Over the past couple of years, some of the largest hospital chains have been struggling to pay down massive amounts of debt resulting from acquisitions and mergers. But things may be changing, if recent conference calls by HCA and LifePoint Hospitals are any indication. Apparently, the execs at these chains believe they can pick up some good bargains on smaller chains, as smaller players are struggling to refinance their debts amid the ongoing market meltdown. The chains aren't talking about big buyouts, however; instead, they're talking about opportunistic deals wherein they pick up a single facility or two in markets where they already have a foothold.

Smaller healthcare organizations are also looking into acquisitions, too. For example, Brentwood, TN-based Ambulatory Services of America just picked up $75 million from a venture capital firm to help it add to its string of eight cancer treatment and dialysis clinics. Another example is Franklin, TN-based Capella Healthcare, which just bought nine hospitals for $315 million, partly with funding from private equity investors.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this article from The Tennessean

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