By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Cooper Health Care has pulled out of a deal to acquire three competing South Jersey hospitals.

Cooper officials are declining to discuss their decision, which was announced in a late Friday press release.

A letter of intent was signed at the end of August to acquire the three hospitals owned by Michigan-based Trinity Health System. They are Our Lady of Lourdes in Camden, the Lourdes Medical Center in Burlington and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton.

Cooper CEO Adrienne Kirby, in that press release, said her staff “invested thousands of hours and millions of dollars in reviewing the proposed transaction. Based upon this review, unfortunately, we will not be able to consummate the contemplated transaction.”

The Cooper release does not deal with the reason for their change of heart, only that they had “undertaken substantial and exhaustive due diligence” in reviewing the deal. That included looking at “compliance, legal, regulatory and operational issues.”

Kirby added she was “disappointed, but did not make this decision lightly”.

The deal would have made Cooper the largest health care provider in South Jersey and the fourth largest in the state.

Trinity Health System issued its own release on behalf of the three hospitals, which also did not address the reason for Cooper’s decision. It expressed disappointment they “could not reach a final agreement on this strategic partnership.”

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