CIGNA Corporation (CI) To Buy Express Scripts (ESRX) For $67 Billion

Reuters

Cigna, one of America's largest health insurance providers, said Thursday it had agreed to acquire Express Scripts in a deal valued at $52 billion.

"Together, our two organizations will help make the healthiest choices the easiest choices, putting health and pharmacy services within reach of everyone we serve", Wentworth said in a press release.

"Adding our company's leadership in pharmacy and medical benefit management, technology-powered clinical solutions and specialized patient care model to Cigna's track record of delivering value through innovation, we are positioned to transform healthcare", Wentworth said.

The deal was approved by the boards of both companies and will include both stocks and cash, according to the announcement.

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Cigna said its offer represented a premium of almost 31 per cent to Express Scripts' Wednesday closing price of $73.42.

When the deal closes later this year or early 2019, Cigna shareholders will own about 64 percent of the combined company, which will keep Cigna's name. "In the US, for example, health care is fragmented, disconnected and expensive, and therefore unsustainable for many", David M. Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna, said in a video press release. Four members of the Express Scripts board will join the combined company's board of directors. The prospect of the Seattle company reshaping the healthcare industry drew further attention in January, when Amazon said it was partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) to launch a not-for-profit joint venture focused on lowering healthcare costs. Express Scripts (esrx), which manages plans covering more than 100 million people, and its rivals are becoming more aggressive with tactics to control costs, increasingly denying coverage of some drugs or requiring high co-payments for expensive treatments. At the same time, other health care companies are consolidating as they seek to offer more services to customers including hospital chains and consumers.

Cigna intends to fund the cash portion of the transaction with a combination of cash on hand, assumed Express Scripts debt, and new debt issuance, Cordani said.

Upon completion of the merger, Cordani will head the combined company as president and CEO. According to today's trading volume Express Scripts Holding Company is ABOVE its 20-Day Avg. volume with the stock showing ABOVE Abnormal volume in the past 150 days. Also, VP Everett Neville sold 4,895 shares of Express Scripts stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 1st.

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The transaction is not subject to any financing conditions. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company.

The companies expect the deal to close by the end of 2018. Until then, the two companies will continue to operate independently.

Centerview Partners LLC and Lazard Frres & Co LLC are acting as financial advisors, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as legal counsel and Holland & Knight LLP as regulatory counsel to Express Scripts.

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