$3 billion deal lifts Aviv REIT shares

$3 billion deal lifts Aviv REIT sharesThe documentary "Alive Inside" follows a program called Music and Memory that brings personalized iPods to nursing home residents and others with dementia. A clip from the film featuring Henry, now deceased, went viral in 2012, and has helped the program spread to 640 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. [Via MerlinFTP Drop](Photo: Projector Media)Shares of Aviv REIT rocketed double-digits early Friday before the market opened, after it was announced that the healthcare real estate investment trust was to be purchased by rival Omega Healthcare for $3 billion.Aviv REIT shares were up 14.62% or $4.40 to $34.50 about an hour before the opening bell. Omega shares were up a fraction.They two companies are both significant players in the healthcare industry, owning hundreds of skilled nursing facilities with tens of thousands of beds between them. With an aging population of Baby Boomers entering retirement age — and expected to live longer lifetimes than the generation before them — the need for nursing facilities has never been greater.Aviv shareholders will receive a portion of Omega stock valued at $34.97 for each Aviv share in a deal designed to be tax-free to shareholders, the companies said Friday. That represents a premium of more than 16% to Omega’s closing price Thursday.Omega shareholders will own about 70% of the combined company, and Omega CEO Taylor Pickett will stay on as chief executive. Aviv Chairman and CEO Craig Bernfield will join the combined company’s board, along with two other directors from Aviv.The deal is expected to close in next year’s first quarter.“The combination of Omega and Aviv creates the premier pure-play skilled nursing facility REIT which, with the expertise and proven track records of the combined management teams, will be well-positioned to continue as the leading consolidator in the large, highly fragmented skilled nursing facility industry,” Omega CEO Taylor Pickett said, in a statement.”Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Omega’s portfolio includes 562 nursing homes, assisted living properties and specialty hospitals. Aviv, which is based in Chicago, owns 312 properties. It oversees approximately 63,532 licensed beds in 37 states and operated by 50 third-party healthcare operating companies.Aviv owns 312 properties with 26,520 licensed beds, that are triple-net leased to 38 operators in 29 states.The deal gives the two skilled nursing facility powerhouses an edge in the market, said Aviv’s Bernfield. “The market opportunity is significant due to highly fragmented ownership and lack of competition from other well capitalized companies.” he said, in a statement.Contributing: Associated Press

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