CVS plans to buy Aetna for $69 billion, reports say

CVS Health Corp. reportedly plans to buy Aetna for $69 billion in a deal that would further consolidate the U.S. health care industry by combining one of the nation’s largest
pharmacy chains with a major health insurer.

CVS, which operates 9,700 drugstores and 1,100 walk-in health care clinics, agreed to pay $207 a share — $145 in cash and $62 in CVS stock — for Aetna, according to the Washington Post and other media reports that cited unidentified sources Sunday.

A CVS purchase of Aetna would require clearance by federal antitrust regulators and approval is by no means certain. In February Aetna dropped its $34 billion bid for Humana after a federal judge blocked it on antitrust grounds.

Representatives of CVS and Aetna, which insures 22 million people, could not be reached for comment.

For consumers, the deal would be the latest example of how the sale of drugs and other health care supplies, patient treatment and medical insurance are being consolidated.

For the companies, the deal is seen helping them mine new areas of sales growth and, in the case of CVS, fend off a potential threat to its pharmacy business Amazon.com, which is considering a move into the pharmaceuticals business.

Adding Aetna’s membership to CVS’s business also could give CVS more leverage in negotiating for lower drug prices with manufacturers, analysts have said.

Aetna, meanwhile, would use the CVS deal to move past its scuttled plans to acquire rival insurer Humana Inc., and to keep pace with UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer.

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