- UnitedHealth Group is among several entities weighing a bid for Tenet Healthcare’s Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
- Tenet has raised the possibility of selling its healthcare management business as it continues to work to bring down debt, but has not said definitively that it will do so. That could come out when the company releases its second quarter earning report next month.
- With $1.6 billion in revenue last year, Conifer accounted for about 8% of Tenet’s overall revenue for the year. Analysts estimate a sale could bring in $2 billion or more, according to the paper.
Should Conifer go on the block, UnitedHealth could be a strong contender. The Minnetonka, Minnesota-based insurer has been actively building up its Optum services arm through a succession of acquisitions. Administrative costs are a big issue for providers and payers, so they are looking for ways to rein them in. Conifer could help them do that.
UnitedHealth established Optum in 2011 by combining the company’s existing pharmacy and care delivery services. Since then, Optum has been on a purchasing spree to position itself as leader in integrated services as companies compete in the changing healthcare ecosystem.
In December, Optum announced it was acquiring DaVita Medical Group for about $4.9 billion. The deal, which is expected to close later this year, would bring DaVita’s nearly 300 medical clinics and 1.7 million patients under Optum’s OptumCare division.
The company also bought the Advisory Board Company for $2.58 billion, ambulatory surgery center chain Surgical Care Affiliates for $2.3 billion and Massachusetts-based Reliant Medical Group.
UnitedHealth recently revealed that Optum is part of $2.2 billion deal to gain a controlling interest in Sound Inpatient Physician Holdings, a medical staffing firm.
Tenet, meanwhile, has been undergoing a major restructuring and divesting hospitals in an effort to draw down debt.
Earlier this week, the Dallas-based hospital chain announced a definitive agreement with Pipeline Health and TWG Partners for the sale of three Chicago-area hospitals: Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital, Westlake Hospital and West Suburban Medical Center. The deals complete Tenet’s exit from the Chicago market, which began with the sale of MacNeal Hospital to Loyal Medicine in October.
The hospital sales — a total of 10 with the latest three — are part of a broader restructuring effort initiated last year that included slimming down Tenet’s regional management layer and another round of layoffs announced in January.
There are signs the moves are paying off. At the end of March, Tenet’s long-term debt was $14.2 billion, down from $14.8 billion at the end of 2017.