Private Equity Firm Acquires Comfort Hospice & Palliative Care

A Salt Lake City-based private equity firm has purchased Comfort Hospice & Palliative Care  in Portland, Ore., for $20 million. The purchasing company—a large regional operator with 30 additional hospice locations primarily in the Western United States—has not been identified publicly.

Comfort Hospice & Palliative Care earns nearly $8.3 million in annual revenues and cares for an average of 143 patients per day in four Oregon counties. The purchase price amounts to $139,860.00 per patient, an extraordinarily high amount in a space where high-end transactions tend to be in the $70,000-$80,000 range.

“The seller is leaving the space due to retirement from the industry. The agency was doing very well financially, and it’s high operating margin led to it’s high per-patient selling price,” Jason Punzel, managing director of Glen Ellyn, Ill.-based Senior Living Living Investment Brokerage, the firm that managed the transaction, told Hospice News.

The hospice has a net operating margin of 42 percent. EBITDA multiples for the transaction were 5.7x, according to Punzel.  

The hospice will not be rebranded, and aside from the owner’s retirement no staff changes or reductions are planned.

Private equity interest in hospice companies has been growing in recent years due to demographic tailwinds, including the rapidly aging U.S. population and growing utilization of hospice care. This interest is helping to drive a robust M&A market in the space according to a report from Provident Healthcare Partners, often with record-high multiples.

Nearly 50 percent of Medicare decedents passed away while receiving hospice care during 2018, close to 1.5 million patients, representing a record level of utilization, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization.