CVS Health Corp. today capped off five weeks of rumors about a deal for Aetna Inc. by officially announcing plans to acquire Aetna for $69 billion in cash and stock.
The Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based drug store would also assume Aetna’s debt. That would bring the total value of the deal to $77 billion.
The companies hope to complete the deal by the end of 2018.
(Related: 3 Possible CVS-Aetna Deal Effects, for Agents)
Earlier this year, Aetna gave up on efforts to acquire Humana Inc. after running into resistance from antitrust regulators.
The CVS-Aetna could be reviewed for antitrust concerns by either the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commissioner. In the past, the Justice Department has been tougher on big deals involving two companies in related industries, rather than two companies in the same industry.
If CVS and Aetna complete the deal they’ve announced, the combined company would have 9,700 CVS Pharmacy stores, 1,100 MinuteClinic walk-in clinics, and about 4,000 CVS Health clinic and home care nurses.
Deal Nuts and Bolts
Aetna may have hinted that big changes were coming earlier this year, when it announced that it was moving its official headquarters to New York City, from Hartford, Connecticut. Aetna has been based in Hartford since 1853.
CVS, which was founded in 1963, says it intends to operate Aetna as a stand-alone business.
Aetna “will be led by members of their current management team,” according to CVS.
Three Aetna directors, including Mark Bertolini, Aetna’s chairman and chief executive officer, would join the CVS board.
One factor that could ease the integration process is that CVS already serves as Aetna’s pharmacy benefits manager (PBM).
Aetna: A Navigator?
Larry Merlo, the president of CVS, said in a statement that CVS hopes to make the combined company “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.
CVS says it has become an integrated health care company.