Nursing home operators have been popular targets among real estate investment trusts and private equity firms since the economic downturn began. American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust Inc., CNL Financial Group Inc. and Griffin Real Estate Management have each been on the hunt for targets in the space, but it is Health Care REIT Inc. (NYSE: HCN) that has managed to stand out among the uptick of land-grabbers in this sector.

Under the guidance of Scott Brinker (pictured), executive vice president of investments, HCN took note of the deal opportunities arising from an aging populace and turned its attention to the senior living sector. The most recent deal was the Toledo, Ohio-based company's $1 billion acquisition of a senior housing portfolio from Revera Inc. The May deal put 47 senior housing communities, with some 5,000 units located in major Canadian metropolitan markets, under HCN ownership.

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