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Apria sale to Blackstone closes

October 29, 2008|Bloomberg News

Shares of Apria Healthcare Group Inc., the largest U.S. provider of home-medical equipment, jumped the most in 16 years after the company closed its $1.7-billion sale to Blackstone Group.

"Many people were concerned the deal wouldn't get done," said Arthur Henderson, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. in Nashville. "But it appears they have secured the financing needed."

Blackstone is paying $21 a share and plans to merge the Lake Forest company with its Sky Merger Sub Corp. unit.

Shares of Apria climbed $7, or 50%, to $20.99, for the biggest gain since 1992. The stock had fallen 2.7% this year.

Apria's stockholders approved the merger Oct. 10. Its common stock will be delisted.

Apria supplies equipment such as ventilators and wheelchairs to patients' homes, and sends nurses to administer medication intravenously.

Blackstone, run by Chief Executive Stephen A. Schwarzman, has bought at least five healthcare companies since 2004, including Southern Cross Healthcare and Vanguard Health Systems Inc.

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