(Reuters) – Private firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP is in discussions to acquire U.S. hospice firm Curo Health Services from private equity firm GTCR LLC, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that could top $700 million, including debt.
The talks have been in progress for the last few weeks and there is no certainty a deal will be reached, the people said this week, asking not to be identified because the negotiations are private.
homas H. Lee and GTCR declined to comment, while Curo Health Services did not respond to a request for comment.
Curo, headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, operates locations across 19 states and cares for over 7,200 patients, according to its website.
GTCR initially invested in Curo in May 2010 and the company has since expanded through bolt-on deals. Curo acquired hospice provider SouthernCare Holdings Inc earlier this year from private equity firm Kohlberg & Co to expand its footprint in the South and Midwest.
Reuters reported in August that GTCR was working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Quote,Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Jefferies LLC to explore a sale of Curo.
Dealmaking and investments in the hospice sector have increased over the last year as healthcare services companies look for more ways to treat patients at home and to control costs for end-of-life care.
In November, HealthSouth Corporation (HLS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed to acquire privately held EHHI Holdings Inc, the owner of Encompass Home Health and Hospice, for $750 million.
In October, Kindred Healthcare Inc (KND.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it would acquire home-care and hospice company Gentiva Health Services Inc (GTIV.O: Quote, Profile,Research, Stock Buzz) for $1.8 billion.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)