Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Kevin Fischbeck had positive things to say late last week about two of Nashville's biggest health care providers. First, he lifted his price target for shares of Community Health Systems a whopping 10 bucks to $45, saying investors are starting to get a better handle on the upside of health care reform and have become more comfortable with the risks of government investigations into CHS admissions practices. Then Fischbeck said senior housing names such as Brookdale Senior Living are among the companies poised to benefit most from an improving economy that will bring them more pricing power. CHS (Ticker: CYH) is up more than 10 percent year to date and has climbed about 20 percent in the past six months, while Brookdale (Ticker: BKD) is up more than 50 percent since July but hasn't moved much in the past few weeks.
National Health Investors, a Murfreesboro–based real estate investment trust, continues to live up to the “investor” portion of its moniker as company officials have closed on yet another deal in 2012, this time in Wisconsin.
NHI paid a little more than $20 million for Charleston House, a 120-unit assisted living facility in Beaver Dam, Wis., according to a statement released today. The operation is a “living and memory care” center and will be leased to Landmark Senior Living Communities for an initial term of 15 years.
"This acquisition is illustrative of NHI's commitment to growing our private-pay assisted living portfolio through creating valuable relationships with experienced operators," said Justin Hutchens, NHI’s president and CEO.
Earlier this week, NHI announced a similar purchase involving three assisted-living properties in Oregon and Idaho. That $9 million deal was completed with seller Milestone Retirement Communities. Both purchases were funded through NHI’s existing credit lines.
Shares of Brookdale Senior Living (Ticker: BKD) got dinged Thursday after Deutsche Bank analysts tweaked their price target for the nursing home operator to $32 from $33. That helped take down Brookdale about 3 percent on the day to $24.51, but it's still up more than 40 percent this year — mainly on the back of M&A chatter.
Analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey have begun covering shares of Healthcare Realty Trust with a 'neutral' rating. That gives them plenty of company: Of the 13 other firms following West End-based Healthcare Realty, only RBC (via locally based Frank Morgan) and BMO Capital Markets have 'buy' ratings and only Cowen & Co. is telling investors to sell the company. Shares of Healthcare Realty (Ticker: HR) are up 26 percent this year.
The Advocat shareholder who in May sued the company over its rejection of a buyout offer is coming after the company a second time. Frank Rossello, who had his first case dismissed last month by District Court Judge Todd Campbell, has now filed a putative class action in Williamson County Chancery Court.
SEE ALSO: Advocat class action dismissed
File this under "Because you just never know..."
The board of nursing home chain Advocat has voted to move forward the record and payout dates for the company's fourth-quarter dividend. Rather than be paid during the second week of January — you know, after we might have driven off that fiscal cliff — the company now will cut its checks on Christmas Eve.
A putative class action against the board of Advocat was dismissed from District Court earlier this month on procedural grounds, specifically because it did not satisfy the federal case requirement that the claim involved was for more than $75,000. But that doesn't mean the case, which centers on the buyout approach made by the Covington Investments group that owns about 15 percent of Advocat, is over: The plaintiffs can refile in state court if they choose.
Deutsche Bank analyst Darren Lehrich provided a nice pop to shares of Brookdale Senior Living Friday when he wrote that the company could separate its property holdings and nursing home businesses and place the former into a real estate investment trust. (Apparently, it's what all the cool local kids are doing these days.) If it happens, look for Fortress Investment Group, which owns 14 percent of Brookdale and has two board seats, to drive the train. Fortress has been doing the same at Penn National Gaming.
“To the extent that Fortress played a big role behind the scenes to effect [the Penn deal], it could potentially have implications for [Brookdale],” Lehrich wrote.
SEE ALSO: Details on two other recent instances when market chatter lifted Brookdale shares