The Ensign Group Inc., which is the publicly held parent companyof the Ensign group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative careservices and assisted living companies, bought four skilled nursingfacilities in Texas and California for an aggregate price ofapproximately $10.4 million. Ensign bought the properties from oneof the company's longtime landlords via four separate Ensignholding subsidiaries. Together the facilities comprise 426 licensedskilled nursing beds.

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Skilled Healthcare Group Inc., which is also publicly held,entered into an agreement to acquire seven assisted livingfacilities in Kansas from Medicalodges for an aggregate of $8.8million. Skilled Healthcare plans to operate the facilities throughits subsidiaries under the Vintage Park name.

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The new Ensign assets include three in Texas and one inCalifornia Ensign subsidiaries have been operating the three Texasfacilities since 1999 and the California facility since 2001. Theoperating subsidiaries will continue to operate their facilitiesunder new long-term leases with the acquiring entities.

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The three Texas facilities are Northern Oaks Living &Rehabilitation Center, a 96-bed skilled nursing facility inAbilene; Wellington Place Living & Rehabilitation Center, a140-bed skilled nursing facility in Temple and Salado Creek Living& Rehabilitation Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility inSan Antonio. The California property is Northbrook Nursing &Rehabilitation Center, a 70-bed skilled nursing facility inWillits.

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Christopher Christensen, Ensign's president and CEO, commentedin a prepared statement that the acqusitions will enable thecompany to "fix our long-term occupancy costs and add to ourportfolio of owned and financeable properties." Ensign operatesfive other facilities under leases from affiliates of the samelandlord that sold the four properties.

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The Mission Viejo-based company used proceeds of its recentinitial public offering used to complete the transaction. Ensignaffiliates currently operate 62 facilities in six Western states,and this acquisition brings the total number of owned facilities inEnsign's combined portfolio to 32, with Ensign affiliates holdingpurchase options on eight of the 30 leased facilities.

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The properties that Skilled Healthcare Group bought total morethan 200 units. They are located in Eureka in Greenwood County;Neodesha and Fredonia in Wilson County; Osage City in Osage County;Wamego in Pottawatomie County; Holton in Jackson County.

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Boyd Hendrickson, CEO of Skilled Healthcare, says that the newfacilities will complement the Vintage Park assisted livingoperations. The seller, Medicalodges, has a 44-year history in theindustry, noted Garen Cox, president and CEO of Medicalodges.

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