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Steward completes deal for hospitals

By Robert Weisman
Globe Staff / May 3, 2011

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Steward Health Care System, the Boston holding company formed last year by the private equity firm that bought Caritas Christi Health Care, said yesterday that it has completed its $21 million acquisition of two for-profit community hospitals: Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill and Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer.

The deals bring to eight the number of Eastern Massachusetts hospitals in the Steward chain. In addition to the two just acquired, it owns the six Catholic hospitals in the Caritas Christi group, including St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and Carney Hospital in Boston.

Steward closed on the Merrimack Valley and Nashoba Valley purchases 2 1/2 weeks after the state Department of Public Health approved the transfer of licenses to Steward. The hospital chain is owned by the New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

The company also has agreements, which need regulatory approval, to buy two nonprofit hospitals: Morton Hospital and Medical Center in Taunton and Saints Medical Center in Lowell.