Ventas says it is not in buyout talks with Brookdale

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Real estate investment trust Ventas says it is not negotiating to purchase all or part of Brookdale Senior Living, contrary to a Wall Street Journal report.

“Brookdale is an important tenant, and Ventas is, and expects to continue to be, in regular discussions with Brookdale on a variety of subjects,” the company stated in a presentation it posted Monday in advance of its Tuesday appearance at the Citi 2017 Global Property CEO Conference. “However Ventas is not currently in talks to buy Brookdale as reported in the press. Ventas undertakes no obligation to update this disclosure as discussions continue regarding Ventas' significant interests in Brookdale as a tenant.”

The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported Feb. 16 that the two entities were having buyout discussions. That report followed one on Jan. 10 that Brookdale was in talks with Blackstone Group LP. (In the Feb. 16 article, the newspaper said that Blackstone's interest seemingly had waned.)

Remarks in the Ventas presentation echo comments that Ventas Chairwoman and CEO Debra Cafaro had made during a Feb. 10 conference call with shareholders and analysts, one month after the initial report of Brookdale's rumored negotiations with Blackstone had been published, when she was asked what a Brookdale sale would mean to Ventas as a landlord.

“Brookdale ... is an important customer of Ventas, and they are an important industry participant, with 80,000 employees and 100,000 seniors that they care for every day,” she said. “We have a good relationship with them. We have excellent agreements between the companies. And we continue to try to work with Brookdale, as we do with all of our customers, to continue to enhance and improve our mutual businesses.”

During its Feb. 14 earnings call with shareholders and analysts, Brookdale Executive Chairman Daniel Decker briefly addressed rumors of a potential sale, saying: “Brookdale's board and management team regularly engage in a wide range of strategic opportunities to enhance shareholder value and … are in the process of exploring options and alternatives to create and enhance shareholder value.” He said he could not comment further.

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