A marathon session in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark yesterday ended with Hudson Holdcothe owners of Hoboken University Medical Center, emerging with the top bid for bankrupt Christ Hospital, at $45.3 million.

It was a stunning turnaround from earlier this week, when a two-day auction sale of the hospital ended Tuesday with Hudson Holdco’s lone competitor, Bloomfield-based Community Healthcare Associates, offering a top bid of $40.5 million.

Hudson Holdco, which also owns Bayonne Medical Center, pledges in its bid to re-hire 100 percent of Christ Hospital’s union workers and 90 percent of its non-union staff.

Though the hospital board makes a recommendation about which bid to accept, Judge Morris Stern ultimately decides who winds up owning Christ Hospital.

The 140-year-old Palisade Avenue medical facility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month after a deal to be acquired by for-profit chain Prime Healthcare Services fell through. A number of interested buyers soon emerged, though only Hudson Holdco and CHA offered bids last week.

CHA declined to comment after yesterday’s proceedings.

The Bloomfield company, which owns the Barnert Medical Arts Complex in Paterson, seemed confident earlier this week that it would end up acquiring Christ Hospital after Tuesday’s auction sale ended with CHA as the top bidder.

But then Thursday, the Christ Hospital Board of Trustees voted unanimously to recommend Hudson Holdco’s bid, which before today’s hearing was about $1 million less than CHA’s. The board said Hudson Holdco “would best ensure Christ Hospital's mission to continue providing quality patient care as a full-service acute care hospital.”

That recommendation led CHA to request yesterday morning that the bidding process reopen, and when it did, Hudson Holdco ended up with the top offer. Its $45.3 million bid tops CHA’s final offer by about $600,000.

The for-profit Hudson Holdco owns both HUMC and Bayonne Medical Center. CHA hopes to acquire Christ Hospital and lease it to the Jersey City Medical Center.

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