The UNC Health Care System's board announced this afternoon that it formed a committee to review WakeMed's offer to buy its Raleigh subsidiary Rex Healthcare for $750 million.
UNC Health officials reiterated that they aren't interested in selling Rex, but will review the hostile takeover bid "in accordance with our fiduciary responsibility."
The committee is expected to review WakeMed's proposal for several weeks and then make a recommendation to the full board. The committee includes D. Jordan Whichard, who will be chairman, as well as board members Lisa Fischbeck, Andrew Greganti, Dale Jenkins, James Speed and UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp.
"We strongly believe that Rex is an integral part of UNC Health Care," said UNC Health board chairman Richard Krasno, in a prepared statement.
WakeMed proposed buying Rex in mid-May. Last week WakeMed leaders, in a letter to UNC president Tom Ross, provided more details on the takeover offer and urged that he give it careful review. They also wrote that they want to close a deal by Dec. 31.
"We believe the offer warrants serious consideration and contend that the sale of Rex to WakeMed is in the best interest of the people and health care in Wake County and the region," WakeMed wrote in a prepared statement released today.
UNC Health has owned Rex since 2000, and is using the Raleigh hospital system as a foundation for its expansion strategy in the fast-growing Wake County medical market.
WakeMed contends that expansion is using state funding and higher reimbursements to create unfair competition. WakeMed CEO Bill Atkinson and other officials are lobbying North Carolina lawmakers to support the sale of Rex as a way of providing a financial boost for the state.