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NJ approves Prime's $62M purchase of bankrupt hospital

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Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services has received state approval to purchase Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark, N.J., ending a 3-year review process.

Prime agreed to buy Saint Michael's for $62 million and invest $50 million to modernize the hospital. In addition, Prime committed to keep "substantially all" of the hospital's 1,400 employees.

New Jersey began its review of the transaction in December 2012. Saint Michael's officials said the extended consideration of the transaction is the chief reason it filed for bankruptcy last August.

In early February, the New Jersey State Health Planning Board gave the transaction the green light, which gave the state's acting health commissioner, Cathleen D. Bennett, 120 days to decide whether the deal should move forward, according to a NJ Spotlight report.

Ms. Bennett approved the transaction on Monday, a move that drew praise from Saint Michael's President and CEO David Ricci.

"We have all been waiting a long time for this moment and while there remains much to do before the transaction is completed, we have crossed the most important milestone," said Mr. Ricci.

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