Beverly sale to Fillmore sails by in Tuesday's shareholder vote

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Beverly Enterprises Inc. shareholders voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve the sale of the company to privately held Pearl Senior Care Inc., an affiliate of Fillmore Capital Partners LLC.

The deal, which is valued at $12.50 per share or $1.8 billion, is expected to be completed by mid-March Beverly, which is based in Fort Smith, AR, operates 342 skilled nursing facilities, 18 assisted living centers and 67 hospice-home health centers. It also provides rehab through its Aegis Therapies unit.

A total of 99.3% of shares voted for the merger. More than 76% of eligible shares were represented in Tuesday's vote. The vote caps more than a year of pivotal events in the sale of Beverly. It started with Formation Capital's unsolicited bid to buy the company in December of 2004 for $11.50 per share.

One question that hovers over the deal is whether San Francisco-based Fillmore will relocate headquarters. President Ron Silva has expressed his disdain for high-cost liability suits filed against nursing homes in Arkansas.