Healthy investments

Westport Capital Partners has made two acquisitions in the US healthcare market this summer—joining a slew of other private equity firms that are pumping capital into the sector.

Last month, Connecticut-based private equity firm Westport Capital Partners worked with Reichmann Healthcare Capital to acquire a controlling interest in Georgia-based Wellington Healthcare Services, the owner of 11 long-term care and senior living centers in the Southeast US.

In July, Westport teamed up with Capital Health Group and Kaplan Development Group to acquire four assisted- and independent-living properties in the Northeast known as the New England Healthcare Portfolio. The deal included properties like The Inn at Forge Hill in Franklin, Massachusetts and The Inn at Robbins Brook in Acton, Massachusetts. Transactions of neither deal were disclosed.

“We are very entrepreneurial in our approach to the business,” said Jordan Socaransky, a principal at Westport Capital. “We focus on turnaround deals [and] facilities that other operators were unsuccessful in.”

He added that demographics are driving much of the interest in the sector. “First and foremost, we can't ignore the demographic trends,” he said.

When looking at the US healthcare sector, Westport works with local operators to gain knowledge of the markets it is hoping to enter. “We are focused on detailed analysis of markets,” said Socaransky. “Historically we have been a detail-oriented underwriter and spend a lot of time analyzing supply and demand in the market.”

He added that the firm looks to create value by repositioning assets, introducing new marketing programs and rethinking business plans.

According to Westport, there are plenty of opportunities for private capital in the healthcare space. “The healthcare sector is fragmented and full of small- and medium-sized owner-operators that need access to capital to grow,” Socaransky said.

Westport hasn't been alone in the space. Earlier this year, The Carlyle Group agreed to pay $4.9 billion for Ohio-based healthcare services provider Manor Care, picking up more than 500 nursing facilities in the process. Private equity real estate firm JER Partners and Formation Capital also won a bidding war this spring for long-term health care company Genesis Health Care, eventually acquiring the company for $1.7 billion.

Westport has invested in office space in Macau, China and Eastern Europe and is currently looking at multi-sector investments in India and China. The firm, which is headquartered in Westport, Connecticut, was founded by former Oaktree Capital Management property pro Russel Bernard.

Blackstone to aquire Hilton for $26bn
Blackstone is buying Hilton Hotels Corporation for $26 billion (€19 billion), adding almost 500,000 hotel rooms to its burgeoning global hospitality empire. Blackstone already owns 100,000 hotel rooms across the US and Europe, including La Quinta Inn and Suites, which it bought in January last year. It has also pumped $1 billion into redevelopment of properties within its luxury brand LXR Luxury Resorts and Hotels. The acquisition of Hilton gives the firm a further 2,800 hotels in 76 countries, trading under a variety of brands such as Conrad, Embassy Suites, The Waldorf-Astoria Collection and Hilton.

Carlyle acquires four hotels in the Bay Area
The Carlyle Group has bought a portfolio of four hotels in Northern California. The portfolio includes the 309-room Crowne Plaza Hotel near San Francisco International airport, the 230-room Holiday Inn in northeast Sacramento, the 198-room Holiday Inn Concord and the 155-room Holiday Inn Walnut Creek. The firm plans to invest approximately $8 million (€6 million) to upgrade the hotels and has hired Dallas-based Prism Hotels and Resorts to “refocus the management efforts at the properties.”

kTR buys O'Hare industrial property
New York-based private equity firm KTR Capital Partners has purchased 513 Express Center Drive, a facility located on approximately seven acres at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The 138,000-square-foot building is a freight facility located in the O'Hare Express Center, a five-building industrial park. The property features 24-foot-high ceilings, loading on three sides of the facility, two drive-in doors, and 165 parking spaces. In April, the firm acquired 23 industrial buildings near O'Hare airport for $107 million (€79 million).

Antares buys $87m office complex in Stamford
Antares Investment Partners, the Connecticut-based real estate development and private equity firm, has increased its holdings in Stamford with the $87 million (€63 million) purchase of the Seaboard Properties portfolio, a move that extends its commercial holdings to 2.2 million square feet across 10 properties. Totaling 305,000 square feet, the Seaboard portfolio is comprised of three office properties and a 70-slip marina. The firm has amassed more than 80 acres of land for its $3 billion waterfront Harbor Point redevelopment project in Stamford's South End.

Salamander Hospitality buys golf resort for $35m
Virginia-based lodging company Salamander Hospitality, owned by Washington Mystics owner Sheila Johnson, has acquired the 900-acre Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida for $35 million (€25 million). The seller was South Carolina-based Golf Trust of America, a golf course REIT that has been liquidating its assets in the US since 2001 . The Innisbrook resort, one of its last holdings, is the site of the PGA Tour's PODS Championship and features four golf courses, five restaurants, six swimming pools, 11 tennis courts and 625 rental units.