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CVS In Talks To Buy Aetna For Nearly $200 A Share

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In a stunning scoop published minutes before the close, WSJ reports CVS Health is in talks to buy Aetna, a defensive acquisition that may help the company fend off Amazon if it moves into the pharmacy space.

Shortly before WSJ published its report, CVS and other pharmacy stocks tumbled to their lows of the day on reports Amazon has been quietly obtaining wholesale pharmacy licenses.  

Earlier this week, Aetna said it would sell its group life and disability business to The Hartford Group for $1.45 billion in cash. Aetna recently moved its headquarters from Hartford, Conn., where the company was founded more than 150 years ago, to New York City.

WSJ reports CVS offered to pay more than $200 a share vs. Aetna's market price of $178.60. Aetna has a $60 billion market capitalization. Aetna shares soared more than 10% on the news, while CVS shares pared their earlier drop, but moved lower again into the close. Managed-care stocks also jumped on the news.

One can't help but wonder if a bid by CVS will spark another iteration of the health-insurer merger frenzy of 2015. While most of the big deals from that period, including Aetna's one-time agreement to buy Humana and Anthem's proposed merger with Cigna, later foundered in the face of regulatory opposition, with Amazon possibly looking to force its way into the pharmacy business, the pressure to consolidate is intensifying.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates…


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