Health Management Associates says new board is reviewing sale

Health Management Associates, Inc.

Health Management Associates, Inc.

— Hospital operator Health Management Associates said Wednesday its new board of directors is reviewing its planned $3.9 billion sale to Community Health Systems.

HMA said its board has retained Lazard and UBS as independent advisers and engaged legal and financial counsel to help as part of the review. It said Community Health Systems agreed to those moves.

Community Health Systems Inc., which is based in Franklin, Tenn., agreed to buy HMA in late July for $13.78 per share. The acquisition that would create a large U.S. hospital chain just as the federal health care overhaul starts adding millions of newly insured people to the health care system.

About two weeks after the deal was announced, HMA shareholders agreed to replace all eight members of the board. The move had been proposed in June - before the buyout deal was announced - by Glenview Capital Management, HMA's largest shareholder.

Community Health Systems has said it could pay another $1 per share for HMA depending on how some government investigations play out. Health Management Associates has received subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding physician relationships and some emergency-room operations.

The deal is expected to close by the end of March pending approval by regulators and Health Management Associates Inc. shareholders.

Health Management, based in Naples, Fla., runs 71 hospitals in 15 states, mostly in the Southeast and Texas.

Shares of HMA have lost 14.4 percent of their value since the sale was announced. Its shares slipped 5 cents to $12.76 in morning trading Wednesday. Shares of Community Health Systems fell 26 cents to $39.12.

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