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The announcement comes three days after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson held a public hearing to question whether the merger was in the best interest of Fairview Health Services. The merger talks had been underway for weeks, but just last week the University of Minnesota made public that it was also courting Fairview.
Swanson had been wary of the potential merger between Sanford and Fairview for a number of reasons, especially because Fairview is a charitable institution whose net worth of $1.2 billion in assets was created by Minnesotans through tax breaks, donations, and land for the benefit of Minnesotans.
Fairview also operates the University of Minnesota's main teaching hospital, which has had a long history of medical firsts.
Sanford Health is based in North and South Dakota and has expanded its footprint to run clinics in eight states. It's received $600 million in donations from T. Denny Sanford, a St. Paul native who made a fortune in the bank card industry.
The attorney general and the University of Minnesota were worried that if Sanford Health took over Fairview, it would drain Minnesota assets to further the company's own expansion in other states.