- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Ventas Inc. will pay $1.75 billion for Ardent Medical Services Inc. and will spin off most of its skilled nursing facilities into a publicly traded real estate investment trust. It shares got a lift in morning trading.

Ventas, which is a real estate investment trust focusing on health care facilities, is expanding its for-profit hospital operations with the buyout of Nashville, Tennessee-based Ardent.

Following the Ardent deal, Chicago-based Ventas will own an additional 10 hospitals focusing on acute care, rehabilitation and women’s health comprising about 2,045 beds.

The move is expected to add up to 10 cents to the company’s funds from operations in the first full year following the closing of the deal.

In a separate move, Ventas will create a separate publicly traded entity in a spinoff. That new company, dubbed SpinCo, will own 355 skilled nursing facilities spanning 37 states. Ventas said the move will boost its growth and income from private pay assets.

It is also expected to qualify as a tax-free distribution to shareholders after it is completed in the second half of the year. Raymond Lewis, current president of Ventas, will become CEO of SpinCo.

Ventas shares rose $3.86, or 5.3 percent, to $77.09 in morning trading. Its shares are up more than 24 percent over the past year.

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