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MISSION VIEJO, CA-Two companies based in Orange County have signed deals for skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in transactions valued at more than $19 million. The buyers were the Ensign Group Inc., based here, and Foothill Ranch-based Skilled Healthcare Group Inc.

The Ensign Group Inc., which is the publicly held parent company of the Ensign group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services and assisted living companies, bought four skilled nursing facilities in Texas and California for an aggregate price of approximately $10.4 million. Ensign bought the properties from one of the company’s longtime landlords via four separate Ensign holding subsidiaries. Together the facilities comprise 426 licensed skilled nursing beds.

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

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

The three Texas facilities are Northern Oaks Living & Rehabilitation Center, a 96-bed skilled nursing facility in Abilene; Wellington Place Living & Rehabilitation Center, a 140-bed skilled nursing facility in Temple and Salado Creek Living & Rehabilitation Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility in San Antonio. The California property is Northbrook Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a 70-bed skilled nursing facility in Willits.

Christopher Christensen, Ensign’s president and CEO, commented in a prepared statement that the acqusitions will enable the company to “fix our long-term occupancy costs and add to our portfolio of owned and financeable properties.” Ensign operates five other facilities under leases from affiliates of the same landlord that sold the four properties.

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

The properties that Skilled Healthcare Group bought total more than 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.

Boyd Hendrickson, CEO of Skilled Healthcare, says that the new facilities will complement the Vintage Park assisted living operations. The seller, Medicalodges, has a 44-year history in the industry, noted Garen Cox, president and CEO of Medicalodges.

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