Newspaper company’s entry into clinical care may inspire other outside players

Analysts say the industry’s relative financial stability and growth prospects could be attractive to potential investors.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Oct. 16, 2012

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

The Washington Post Co.’s investment in a home health care and hospice company is an indication of the growing interest of nonclinical companies seeing financial opportunities in businesses involved in patient care, investment analysts said.

Up until the newspaper company’s Oct. 1 announcement that it was buying a majority stake in Mars, Pa.-based Celtic Healthcare, the nonclinical interest in patient care companies had been limited mostly to insurers or others that already had some connection to the health business. But analysts, without identifying other companies by name, said other nonhealth firms could follow the Washington Post Co.’s lead. An aging population that will need more care and the health reform movement — including an estimated 30 million new insured patients on the rolls in 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act — are creating what some companies believe to be a sure profit opportunity, analysts said.

“It’s tempting,” said Sheryl Skolnick, PhD, managing director and senior health care analyst with CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn. “There’s tremendous change coming, and with great change comes great opportunity.”

The Washington Post Co. is best known for its daily newspaper but makes most of its revenue from Cable One television and Kaplan educational services. However, Kaplan, which is responsible for more than half of the Washington Post Co.’s revenues, is under pressure because of greater regulation and scrutiny of the for-profit college education industry. Credit ratings agencies have downgraded the Washington Post Co. for this reason.

Terms of the Celtic deal were not released, but analysts believe the investment was around $50 million. This is the Washington Post Co.’s first deal in the health care sector. Analysts said the company’s investment in Celtic, a relatively small player with an annual revenue of $45 million, may allow the home health care company to better compete against larger ones such as Amedisys, which expects to bring in $1.5 billion in 2012.

In a prepared statement, Washington Post Co. Chair and CEO Donald E. Graham said the Celtic deal is part of an “ongoing strategy of investing in companies with demonstrated earnings potential and strong management teams attracted to our long-term investment horizon.”

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn