Manor Care prepping for a sale?

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The nation's largest nursing home chain plans to retain investment bank JPMorgan. Manor Care Inc. said the move will help it make better strategic moves in the months ahead. Analysts noted that Manor Care might be prepping for a sale.

"We are actively evaluating a full range of opportunities," said Paul A. Ormond, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Manor Care Inc.

The announcement comes amid the completion of several large deals in the nursing home sector. These include the sale of Genesis HealthCare Corp to a joint venture between affiliates of Formation Capital LLC and JER Partners. Ventas Inc. also is planning to purchase Sunrise Senior Living Real Estate Investment Trust.

Shares jumped 8.7% to $60.60 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange following the announcement. Manor Care operates about 500 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home care agencies.