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Aspirus buying Divine Savior in move that creates $1.4 billion health system

The nonprofit Aspirus will expand its network, which now includes almost 60 clinics, as the deal looks to close by the end of this year.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Aspirus headquarters in Wausau, Wisconsin.Aspirus headquarters in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Aspirus, a nonprofit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin, is planning an acquisition of Divine Savior Healthcare, adding a new hospital south of its current headquarters and expanding its system to include about 60 clinics worth $1.4 billion in annual revenue.

The two organizations now begin the due diligence process and expect to finalize the affiliation by the end of 2019.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT

Divine Savior President and CEO Michael Decker outlined the merger this way: "The healthcare industry is changing, and this affiliation will help Divine Savior Healthcare continue to grow and evolve to better serve our communities."

Aspirus has a long history of serving rural areas, Decker said.

Rural hospitals have not fared well in recent years and many have closed. A Navigant study done earlier this year said 21% of rural hospitals are at high risk of closing.

The alignment with Aspirus brings together resources and expertise to ensure long-term success, Decker said.

Based in Portage, Wisconsin, Divine Savior Healthcare was founded in 1917 by the Sisters of the Divine Savior, and has grown to provide the region with healthcare services at its hospital, clinics, skilled nursing and assisted living facility, home health services, paramedic level ambulance service, child care center and medically-integrated fitness center. The nonprofit organization has more than 940 team members.

Aspirus employs more than 7,500 people, according to the Wausau Daily Herald. The system has also announced plans for a new clinic in Wausau, a 36,000-square-foot facility whose timeline is still being fleshed out as the project's plans are finalized.

Financial terms for the Divine Savior acquisition were undisclosed.   

THE LARGER TREND

Merger and acquisition activity, while still robust, hasn't been quite as frenetic as in 2018 -- 1,182 transactions took place last year, driven by two big quarters in particular. The total value of transactions dipped from 2017, however.

ON THE RECORD

"We are extremely excited to partner with a community system that has achieved so much," said Matthew Heywood, Aspirus president and CEO. "Divine Savior has a tremendous team and strong service culture that closely aligns with our own. The commitment to community health and philanthropy mirrors that of Aspirus, and I look forward to generations of progressive, excellent care in Portage."
 

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com