Blackstone Group LP of New York on Tuesday completed its $1.7 billion buy of Apria Healthcare Group Inc., a Lake Forest home healthcare provider.
Apria, which has yearly revenue of $2.1 billion, provides breathing treatments and drugs to patients in their homes.
Besides going private, Apria is also getting a new chief executive.
Lawrence Higby, who’s run the home healthcare company since 2002, is retiring. The 63-year-old Higby, who has been with Apria nearly 11 years, will continue on as vice chairman.
A search is under way for Higby’s replacement, Apria said. Norman Payson, a two-year Apria board member, is serving as executive chairman and interim chief executive until Higby’s successor is found.
The Apria deal is notable because it is one of few big deals that have gone through in recent months amid the credit crunch.
Blackstone’s deal ends Apria’s 13-year run as one of OC’s larger public companies. The company was created in 1995 through the combination of Abbey Healthcare Group Inc. of Costa Mesa and Homedco Group Inc., which was based in Fountain Valley.