Report: Brookdale in talks to be acquired by Chinese firm for $3 billion

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Brookdale Senior Living is in negotiations to be acquired for $3 billion by Chinese real estate development and holding company Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co Ltd., Reuters reported Tuesday, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

A Brookdale spokeswoman told McKnight's Senior Living that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.

Zhonghong Group bought a 21% equity interest in SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. last month from private equity firm Blackstone Group L.P., creator of global real estate fund Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII L.P., with which Brookdale earlier this year acquired a 15% ownership interest in a joint venture that purchased for $1.125 billion a portfolio of 64 senior living communities formerly leased to Brookdale by HCP.

The Brookdale acquisition would represent the largest one by a Chinese company in the U.S. senior care and services industry, according to the Reuters article, but the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States would need to approve a deal because of potential national security issues.

Zhonghong Group traditionally has focused on strategic growth opportunities in the leisure, tourism and culture-related industries, according to a press release about its SeaWorld investment.

The latest rumors of talks between Brookdale and potential suitors are not the first. The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 16 that Brookdale and real estate investment trust Ventas were having buyout discussions, but Ventas leaders refuted the report in a presentation posted online in March in relation to the REIT's appearance at the Citi 2017 Global Property CEO Conference.

The Wall Street Journal report had followed another one, on Jan. 10 that Brookdale was in talks with Blackstone Group L.P. itself.

Brookdale's current negotiations with Zhonghong Group are exclusive, according to Reuters' sources, and reportedly follow other offers that put the worth of the country's largest senior living operator at “substantially below” $3 billion.

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