As Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems (CHS) continues to struggle after its 2014 acquisition of Health Management Associates (HMA) for $7.6 billion (including $3.7 billion in debt), the company has divulged that it is in “very preliminary” discussions with advisers about possibly selling more of its assets. Bloomberg broke the news on Sept. 16.

The acquisition gave CHS 71 additional hospitals, but in April the company spun off 38 hospitals, mostly rural, along with Quorum Health Resources, a hospital management business CHS acquired in 2007, into a separate, publicly traded company called Quorum Health Corp. That transaction raised $1.2 billion, and CHS also sold its stake in a joint venture in four Las Vegas hospitals for about $445 million. 

The company has letters of intent to sell a dozen more hospitals, which, according to Chief Financial Officer Larry Cash, will net CHS approximately $850 million. 

CHS still owns, leases or operates 158 hospitals. Sixty-one of those are former HMA facilities, which continue to post revenue and earnings below that of CHS’ 92 legacy hospitals, Cash told analysts in August.

CHS reported a second-quarter loss of $1.43 billion from continuing operations after taking a noncash write-down on the value of its hospitals. That compared with income of $117 million during the same period in 2015. Net operating revenue for second quarter was $4.59 billion, a 6 percent year-over-year decrease. 

Tianqiao Chen, a Chinese billionaire, recently purchased an additional 3.5 million shares of CHS for $31.9 million, according to a regulatory filing, bringing his total ownership to 14.7 million shares, or 12.9 percent of the company. 

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Reuters reported that Apollo Global Management, a private equity group, could be interested in some of CHS’ assets. Within the last year Apollo bought Brentwood, Tenn.-based RegionalCare Hospital Partners and Franklin, Tenn.-based Capella Healthcare. The combined entity, called RCCH HealthCare Partners, has 18 hospitals located throughout the U.S. 

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