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ARV Assisted Living Moves to Extend Range of Services

Seniors: Costa Mesa residential care provider tells of plans to acquire Newport-based SynCare.


COSTA MESA — In a move to expand the services it markets directly to its clients, fast-growing ARV Assisted Living Inc. said Wednesday it plans to buy a privately owned therapy provider based in Newport Beach.

The proposal calls for ARV to acquire SynCare Inc. for 70,000 shares of restricted ARV stock. At current trading prices, the deal appears to be worth about $1 million, although ARV officials say the actual value won't be known until the deal closes in the fall.

Analysts said the acquisition reflects a growing trend among operators of residential senior care facilities to increase profits by owning the various service providers they use.

"It looks to me like more and more they will be trying to expand the number of services they can provide as they prepare for the continued aging of their residents" and, thus, increased demand for services, said Frank G. Morgan of the J.C. Bradford & Co. brokerage in Nashville.

ARV builds, develops and operates residences for older people who need help with some daily living tasks--such as grooming or taking medication--but do not need the expensive, around-the-clock care provided by nursing homes.

SynCare provides physical, occupational and speech therapy, primarily to residents of assisted living facilities such as those ARV operates. Its Geri Care subsidiary provides therapy services in more than 40 assisted-living facilities in California.

ARV is one of the largest assisted-living operators in the country, with 4,823 residential units in 38 facilities and 14 additional facilities under development.

The company raised $43.4 million in an initial public offering at $14 a share in October and said it intended to use most of the money for expansion. ARV stock has traded as high as $20.75 a share and as low as $9.50 since the public offering. On Wednesday, the company's shares closed in light Nasdaq trading at $14.50, unchanged for the day.

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