PLAINSBORO, N.J. (AP) — Princeton HealthCare System is exploring a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

The two sides on Wednesday signed a letter of intent to conduct due diligence and to negotiate agreements.

Princeton HealthCare President Barry Rabner says Penn Medicine stood out as the best fit after reviewing 17 potential partners. He says Penn’s strong financial position and scope of services will add to Princeton HealthCare’s financial security.

It is expected to take several months before the two sides finalize a deal that would require regulatory approval, which could take up to a year to complete.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.