Aetna to Acquire Humana for $37 Billion

Merger will create the second-largest managed care firm as the frenzy of health insurance deals continues.
Katie Kuehner-HebertJuly 3, 2015

Aetna said Friday it would buy Humana for $37 billion in cash and stock, riding a wave of consolidation among heath insurers driven in part by the Affordable Care Act.

The “complementary combination” brings together Humana’s growing Medicare Advantage business with Aetna’s diversified portfolio and commercial capabilities to create the second-largest managed care company in the United States, Aetna said in a press release.

“The acquisition of Humana aligns two great companies and will significantly advance our strategy of more effectively serving members in a rapidly changing health care industry,” Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini said.

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Aetna’s takeover of Humana comes a day after Centene’s $6.3 billion deal for Health Net. Other health care deals may be in the pipeline as insurers seek to take advantage of the revenue growth from the Affordable Care Act and the privatization of Medicare and Medicaid.

According to Bloomberg, Anthem may offer Cigna a better deal than the $47 billion takeover bid that Cigna rejected last month, and UnitedHealth may try to buy Aetna.

CNN reported that some doctors are concerned that these mergers would result in excessive consolidation, giving larger carriers greater leverage to raise premiums and reduce the number of doctors and hospitals in network coverage plans.

But a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group, said in June that “there is little evidence that shows mergers in health insurance increase costs.”

Under the terms of Aetna’s deal for Humana, shareholders of Humana would receive $125 in cash and 0.8375 Aetna common shares for each Humana share. Aetna’s shareholders would own roughly 74% of the combined company and Humana’s shareholders would own roughly 26%.

Aetna expects to finance the cash portion of the transaction with a combination of cash on hand and by issuing approximately $16 billion of new term loans, debt, and commercial paper.

Closing is expected to be in the second half of 2016 and  Bertolini will serve as chairman and CEO of the combined company. The board will consist of 12 current Aetna directors and four Humana directors.

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