Ensign Purchases 15-Property Assisted Living Real Estate Portfolio

The Ensign Group (Nasdaq: ENSG) now owns the real estate of 15 Wisconsin assisted living properties, which the company has been operating for more than a year.

Mission Viejo, California-based Ensign did not disclose the purchase price, but the transaction was funded from cash using the company’s revolver and was effective Dec. 21, according to a press release issued Tuesday. Ensign did not immediately return a call from Senior Housing News on Tuesday afternoon.

Ensign acquired the operations of the 15 communities from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based Harmony Living Centers in August 2015. That deal included an option for Ensign to purchase the real estate, which the company now has exercised.


Ensign now owns the underlying real estate in 50 of its 209 operations, Ensign President and CEO Christopher Christensen stated in the press release. These operations include assisted living, skilled nursing, and other health care businesses, such as therapy, hospice, and home health.

“…We are excited about deepening our commitment to the health care community in the great state of Wisconsin,” Christensen stated in the release. “We are especially thrilled for the experienced and dedicated teams at each of these operations, who are excited to continue their success for many years to come with the added certainty that comes from the ownership of the real estate.”

The portfolio includes 687 units, and the properties are located throughout the state, including in Madison and Green Bay. These 15 properties accounted for the majority of the company’s 899 total operational skilled nursing and senior living beds in Wisconsin as of the end of 2015.


The company had more than 19,600 total operational beds nationwide at the end of 2015, with Arizona, California, and Texas its biggest markets.

In 2016, Ensign undertook its largest transaction to date by becoming the operator of 18 skilled nursing facilities in Texas.

Coming off a period of intense M&A activity, and seeing high prices in the market currently, the company is being “extra picky” about opportunities in the post-acute space, Executive Vice President and Secretary Chad Keetch said on a third-quarter 2016 earnings call.

Still, Ensign is on the hunt.

“Mr. Christensen reiterated that Ensign continues to see a very healthy pipeline for growth opportunities within its existing footprint and in new markets,” Tuesday’s press release stated. “He also indicated that the organization is actively seeking and negotiating several other transactions to acquire real estate and to lease both well-performing and struggling skilled nursing, assisted living and other healthcare related businesses.”

Written by Tim Mullaney

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