Private firm buys 6 Catholic hospitals

Up in Boston, private equity giant Cerebrus Capital Management LP of New York (headed by truth-telling ex-Bush Treasury secretary John Snow, but best known for its disastrous Chrysler investment before the automaker's bankruptcy) has agreed to pay $830 million for six Catholic hospitals in the Caritas Christi network.

Presumably Cerebrus hopes to sell the hospitals at a fat return a few years off. The hospitals will now earn profits and pay taxes. Yet the church "will retain a stewardship role" and "the hospitals will remain Catholic," and still treat the poor, the hospitals say. The deal still requires church and state approval.

Where's the money going? Half for "capital expenditures" over the next four years, a quarter to shore up pensions (the system employs 12,000, making it about as large as Newtown Square-based Catholic Health East), the rest split between "immediate construction" and debt retirement. More from Boston Herald, Boston Globe, BusinessWeek, Wall St Journal