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CVS to buy health giant Aetna

CVS says its $69-billion acquisition of the health insurer Aetna will help create a customer “front door” to health care through the chain’s network stores. Some analysts see the move as CVS trying to get ahead of potential move by Amazon into the pharmaceutical market.


Under the terms of the merger agreement, which has been unanimously approved today by the boards of directors of each company, Aetna shareholders will receive $145.00 per share in cash and 0.8378 CVS Health shares for each Aetna share. The transaction values Aetna at approximately $207 per share or approximately $69 billion. Including the assumption of Aetna's debt, the total value of the transaction is $77 billion.

CVS Health intends to fund the cash portion of the transaction through a combination of existing cash on hand and debt financing. The transaction is not contingent upon receipt of financing. Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are providing $49 billion of financing commitments.

CVS Health President and Chief Executive Officer Larry J. Merlo said, "This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer health care experience. With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health's human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals. We look forward to working with the talented people at Aetna to position the combined company as America's front door to quality health care, integrating more closely the work of doctors, pharmacists, other health care professionals and health benefits companies to create a platform that is easier to use and less expensive for consumers."

"This is the next step in our journey, positioning the combined company to dramatically further empower consumers. Together with CVS Health, we will better understand our members' health goals, guide them through the health care system and help them achieve their best health," said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO. "Aetna has a proud tradition of continually innovating to address unmet consumer needs and providing leading products and services to the marketplace."

Bertolini continued, "Aetna has a talented and dedicated group of employees working to build a healthier world every day. Our combined company will be more competitive in the marketplace and accelerate progress toward achieving this mission."

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018. It is subject to approval by CVS Health and Aetna shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

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