A subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group Inc. is paying $500 million to acquire John Deere Health Care Inc. from Deere & Company.[@@]

Deere, Moline, Ill., the famous tractor and lawnmower maker, formed John Deere Health Care in 1985.

The unit now manages health care for Deere employees, retirees, surviving spouses and dependents in Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia.

Deere, which hopes to close on the unit sale by April 1, 2006, estimates it will earn about $350 million on the deal.

UnitedHealth’s UnitedHealthcare unit has agreed to buy the John Deere Health Care headquarters in Moline, and it has said it will use the building as a regional office for UnitedHealthcare, Deere says.