By Carl O’Donnell and Caroline Humer
(Reuters) – U.S. drugstore chain operator CVS Health Corp <CVS.N> said on Sunday it had agreed to acquire U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc <AET.N> for $69 billion, seeking to tackle soaring healthcare spending through lower-cost medical services in pharmacies.
This year’s largest corporate acquisition will combine one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) and pharmacy operators with one of its oldest health insurers, whose national business ranges from employer healthcare to government plans.
The deal comes after Aetna’s $37 billion plan to acquire smaller U.S. health insurance peer Humana Inc <HUM.N> was blocked in January by a U.S. federal judge over antitrust concerns. A proposed combination of peers Anthem Inc <ANTM.N> and Cigna Corp <CI.N> was also shot down.
Aetna shareholders stand to receive $207 per share in the deal with CVS, the companies said. The consideration comprises $145 per share in cash and 0.8378 CVS shares for each Aetna share. Reuters first reported the terms of the deal earlier on Sunday.
Aetna shareholders will own about 22 percent of the combined company, while CVS shareholders will own the remainder.
The companies said that cost synergies in the second full year after the transaction closes — 2020 if the deal closes in the second half of 2018 as they expect — would amount to $750 million. They foresee it adding to adjusted earnings per share by the low- to mid-single digit percentage points.
Their vision expands beyond capitalizing on CVS’ existing MinuteClinic structure, which largely offers preventative services like flu shots, the companies’ chief executives said in an interview.
“When you walk into CVS there’s the pharmacy. What if there’s a vision and audiology center, and perhaps a nutritionist, and some sort of care manager?” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said.
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