Denver-based DaVita Inc. is selling its physician network arm for $4.9 billion, with aims to use some of that cash to buy back stock.
The sale, to multifaceted health services company Optum, was to be announced early Wednesday. It will be completed next year after regulatory approval, according to a joint news release from the companies.
For $4.9 billion, Optum gets about 300 primary care and specialist clinics DaVita Medical Group operates, as well as 35 urgent-care centers and six outpatient surgery facilities. The group serves about 1.7 million patients each year. It will be combined with Optum’s OptumCare division, a network of about 30,000 affiliated doctors who serve millions of patients each year, according to the company.
“The physicians and clinicians of DaVita Medical Group provide outstanding patient care, and we look forward to supporting their continued success in serving their patients and communities,” OptumHealth CEO Andrew Hayek said in the release. “We also look forward to working closely with the leadership team of DaVita Medical Group to combine our capabilities and, supported by the data analytics and technology
capabilities of Optum, enhancing patient care and the value we provide to the communities we serve.”
DaVita, a Fortune 500 company with a corporate headquarters housed in one of the newest office towers in downtown Denver, has a network of more than 2,400 kidney dialysis centers across the country. It also operates 230 dialysis centers in 11 countries outside the U.S. It first bought its physician network business, then known as HealthCare Partners, for $4.42 billion in 2012. At the time, the network operated 152 clinics.
DaVita was valued at $11.2 billion as of Tuesday afternoon. Its stock was trading at $60.93 at market close, down 5.1 percent for the year. The company reported a $214 million loss in the third quarter, which it attributed in part to “non-cash goodwill impairment charges of $601 million” from the medical group segment.
The money from the sale will be used to buy a significant amount of stock over the next one to two years, as well as to pay down debt and other general corporate uses, the release said.
“Following this transaction, DaVita will continue to be a leader in population health management, with a
focus on our U.S. and international kidney care businesses,” DaVita CEO Kent Thiry said in the release. “We also expect to pursue other investments in health care services outside of kidney care.”