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Northwestern, Centegra seek to finalize 10-hospital merger

Chicago-based Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Crystal Lake, Ill.-based Centegra Health System could close their merger deal by Sept. 1, according to a recent filing with the Illinois Facilities & Services Review Board.

The two health systems have been in negotiations since 2016, when they signed a letter of intent to explore a merger, and the deal is moving forward.

"It's the next stop in the regulatory approval process," a Centegra spokesperson told the Northwest Herald regarding the recent filing with the Illinois Facilities & Services Review Board.

Under the proposed transaction, Centegra's three hospitals would join Northwestern Memorial HealthCare's seven hospitals, and Northwestern would govern, direct and oversee Centegra's business, property and funds, according to the Northwest Herald, which cited the recent filing. Health system officials said in 2017 no cash would change hands under the proposed deal.

In a report released last week, Fitch Ratings said it expects Centegra's bond rating to be downgraded, potentially by several notches, if the system is not acquired by Northwestern. "Absent the acquisition by NMH, Fitch anticipates that Centegra's leverage metrics will continue to be pressured for a number of years with a financial profile that shows vulnerability to economic variations or further margin compression," Fitch said.

More articles on healthcare industry transactions:

Partners HealthCare, 1.2M-member health plan considering merger
ProMedica to acquire nursing home chain — creating $7B health network
KentuckyOne Health sells 25-bed critical access hospital

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