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Louisville-based home health care provider Almost Family has been acquired by a Louisiana-based competitor LHC Group in an all-stock deal valued at $836 million.

Almost Family’s shares spiked more than 15 percent in morning trading.

Post-merger, LHC will have 31,000 employees at 781 locations in 36 states and annual revenue of $1.8 billion, making it the second-largest home health care provider in the nation, trailing only Louisville-based Kindred Healthcare.

LHC Group will provide 0.915 shares of LHC for each outstanding share of Almost Family. After the acquisition, LHC Group shareholders will own 58.5 percent of the company.

According to the Lafayette, La.-based Daily Advertiser, LHC expects to add more than 500 jobs in Lafayette in the next five years and will expand its headquarters by 90,000 square feet to accommodate growth from the acquisition.

LHC Group Chairman and CEO Keith Myers, President and COO Donald Stelly and CFO Joshua Proffitt will remain in their positions. Almost Family President and Principal Financial Officer C. Steven Guenthner will become LHC’s chief strategy officer.

A map showing locations of LHC and Almost Family. | Courtesy of the companies

In a conference call with investors, leaders of the new company said that the larger company could address industry challenges much better than the companies could separately. Leaders said, for example, that acquiring Almost Family would allow the company to expand into Florida, a critical market for an industry that relies heavily on reimbursements for Medicare patients.

They also said that they combined the could grow better and faster at a lower risk.

LHC has seen dramatic growth in the last few years: The number of employees has grown about 60 percent since 2013. Revenue between 2013 and 2016 increased 39 percent to $915 million. Almost Family in 2016 generated revenue of $624 million, up 17 percent from the prior year.

Almost Family’s shares spiked $15.3 percent, to $60.70 in morning trading. Broader markets were up less than 1 percent. LHC Group’s shares were up 1.2 percent around noon.

The transaction still requires shareholder and regulatory approval. The parties expect to complete the transaction in the first half of next year.

Almost Family could not be reached immediately to talk about impact on employment in the Louisville area. The companies said that LHC will remain based in Lafayette, while its personal care services, health care innovations and other support services will operate out of Louisville.

Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.


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