Dr. Kiran Patel, an Indian American cardiologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has announced the sale of his Tampa, Fla.-based healthcare services company Freedom Health Inc. to Anthem Inc., the second largest health insurer in the United States.
Anthem did not disclose financial terms for the purchase of the company, which had combined revenues of $1.4 billion and net income of $10.1 million in 2016. The deal will close in the first quarter of 2018. This is Anthem’s second acquisition of a Medical Advantage company in Florida. Last month Anthem, which has a market cap of $54 billion, acquired HealthSun, which has 40,000 Medicare Advantage members in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In acquiring America’s 1st Choice, Anthem said it had also scooped up the company’s Florida Medicare Advantage brands which include Patel’s Freedom Health as well as Optimum.
Patel told the Tampa Bay Business Journal: “In life, there comes a time where one has to decide personal capacity and capabilities. I’m an entrepreneurial type and the company has grown to a level where now, to grow to next level, you need a disciplined approach, a corporate type-approach and I don’t survive in that type of environment…. I like to grow things and then it’s time to pass it on to someone who has a more corporate structure.”
Patel, who said the sale process started about four months ago with several suitors, ended with Anthem winning out because it aligns properly with how he foresees his company heading. In a letter he wrote to more than 1,000 employees, Patel said, “Many corporations can provide the governance and capital but I wanted a partner that was philosophically aligned with my thoughts. After discussion with multiple players, I found Anthem to be uniquely aligned with my thoughts and visions.”
The Indian American entrepreneur said he is confident Anthem will take care of every employee who works hard and can adapt to Anthem’s culture. With this company sold, Patel told the Tampa Bay Times he hopes to shift his focus to philanthropic efforts.
In a company press release, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said: “The acquisition of America’s 1st Choice, which has strong technology tools and expertise designing and implementing engagement programs, fits well with our growth objective and will also enhance our ability to deliver a broad variety of cost-effective, high quality plans to meet the diverse needs of the Medicare population.”.
“I want to focus on the other things that I have started, from hospitality to different funds and technology companies,” Patel told the publication. “But more of my time will go to the philanthropic side.”
Patel and his wife Dr. Pallavi Patel have donated millions to philanthropic efforts across the Tampa Bay area and built hospitals in India and Zambia, according to a Tampa Bay Times report. Among their donations include $26 million to the University of South Florida, $5 million for a conservatory at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, and $3 million for a research institute at Florida Hospital Tampa, the report said. The couple recently announced they had made a $200 million commitment to Nova Southeastern University for a regional campus in Clearwater that would focus on medical education, the report added.
He is also starting a university in India, which is called the Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel University, with a medical school, and he hopes to exchange students between India and the U.S. He’s working on health care initiatives in Zambia and Jamaica, while “passing the torch” on other business involvement to his children.