Community Health Systems Inc, the second-largest for-profit U.S. hospital operator, said on Tuesday it would buy smaller rival Health Management Associates Inc for $3.9 billion to strengthen its base, as the country's healthcare system transforms under President Barack Obama's overhaul.
Community Health would pay $13.78 per share in a combination of cash and its own stock.
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Both chains operate hospitals primarily in smaller cities and rural areas. Health Management has a strong focus in the U.S. Southeast, including Florida.