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WakeMed Makes $750M Bid for Rex Healthcare

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 12, 2011

WakeMed Health & Hospitals Thursday made a formal offer to buy Rex Healthcare from UNC Health Care System for $750 million, the Raleigh, NC-based health system said.

The offer, which had been under development by WakeMed for several months, was authorized by a unanimous vote of the WakeMed board of directors last week.  An offer letter from Board Chair Billie Redmond and President and CEO Bill Atkinson was submitted Thursday to The University of North Carolina President Thomas Ross, WakeMed said in a media release.

"We strongly believe that the movement of Rex to the WakeMed system will greatly facilitate WakeMed's mission of service to the citizens of our area while also decreasing costs and providing efficiencies that would further support UNC's mission of providing academic-based patient care, research and teaching," Atkinson and Redmond said in their letter to Ross.

UNC Health Care and Rex Healthcare did not immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday. But the North Carolina News-Record quotes UNC Health CEO Bill Roper as saying in a phone interview Wednesday night, "Rex is not for sale. It's an institution that's a very important part of our mission to serve the entire state."  The paper additionally reported that "Rex CEO David Strong sent an email to Rex employees late Wednesday dismissing rumors of a potential sale as 'outrageous and untrue.'"

Analyst Mark Reiboldt at the Coker Group, said in an email to HealthLeaders Media that "UNC has apparently said they're not interested in selling; however, WakeMed believes that Rex can be improved significantly under their model as opposed to a traditional academic system." 

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