[Updated] Health Care REIT’s New Name: Welltower

Health Care REIT (NYSE: HCN) President and CEO Thomas DeRosa announced Monday that the company—one of the largest owners of senior housing real estate in the country—will change its name to Welltower Inc.

The renamed company will continue to trade its common and preferred stock under the New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol “HCN,” according to information the Toledo, Ohio-based REIT furnished Monday to Senior Housing News.

The company filed for the Welltower trademark name in early June.

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The renaming announcement was made in a letter to employees and will be made official on Wednesday, according to The Toledo Blade.

“With the launch of our new name, we are rededicating ourselves to the platforms, investment opportunities and partner relationships that have made us a recognized leader in our industry,” DeRosa wrote. “We believe that we are just beginning to tap into the opportunities for transforming health care infrastructure to drive innovation and value across the care continuum.”

DeRosa also explained the name change is a “commitment to environments that promote wellness,” and that the re-naming does not represent a shift in the company’s values or commitment to its senior housing and health system partners.

The company that now will be known as Welltower has assets totaling more than $26 billion and owns 1,411 properties throughout the U.S., UK and Canada. The company primarily owns assisted living facilities and has made major investments in the post-acute space recently.

HCN boasted record earnings last year and completed $3.7 billion of new investments. The company has completed or announced more than $3.8 billion of investments this year and is on track to exceed $30 billion of gross real estate investments. Since 2010, the company has announced more than $26 billion of investments while its enterprise value has increased more than 300% to $36 billion. It is the third-largest senior housing owner nationally, according to recently released rankings from the American Seniors Housing Association.

The REIT’s growth has been achieved largely with existing operating partners, the company noted in the materials sent to SHN. It looks forward to continued expansion driven by demographic trends and changing market conditions, including a shift away from “hospital-centric or nursing home based models to networked care options that can provide better care at lower cost.”

This transition toward “consumer friendly” settings such as post-acute and senior housing will require capital to support innovations and investment in infrastructure, De Rosa noted in a prepared statement. He said that Welltower will seek to “answer that challenge.”

Written by Amy Baxter

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