Updated: HMA shareholders approve Community Health Systems takeover

Health Management Associates (HMA) Inc. shareholders have approved a controversial $3.9 billion takeover by Community Health Systems (CHS), according to the Wall Street Journal.

The deal will create the largest health company based on number of hospitals in the nation--and the second largest by revenue, according to the article. The purchase is expected to be completed by the end of January, according to the WSJ.

"We are gratified that HMA stockholders have approved our merger with Community Health Systems and look forward to taking the steps necessary to complete the transaction," HMA Chairman of the Board Steve Shulman said in a statement.

Wayne T. Smith, board chairman, president and CEO of Community Health Systems, said in the same statement that shareholders saw the "strategic value" of the merger. "We are working now to finalize regulatory approvals, and we expect to complete this transaction quickly so that we can integrate our two companies and deliver on our plans for long-term growth and value creation," he said.

One stakeholder, the American Federation of Teachers, has been vocal in its opposition to the merger. Randi Weingarten, AFT president, said last month that the involvement of Glenview Capital Management LLC meant the deal could involve "serious conflicts of interest, potential self-dealing and possible violations of applicable law," according to the WSJ article. The union's pension holds large chunks of both HMA and CHS stocks.

Glenview, pushing for a shareholder vote, unseated the entirety of the Health Management board last August. Approximately 98.7 percent of voting HMA shareholders voted in favor of the takeover, representing roughly 82 percent of the company's outstanding shares, according to the WSJ.

CHS announced its intention to buy HMA last July; the merger is valued at nearly $8 billion including assumption of debt, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the WSJ article
- read the statement