CVS Health Closes Aetna Deal and Eyes ‘Transformation’ of Consumer Health Experience

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WOONSOCKET, R.I.—CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced Thursday that it has completed its acquisition of Aetna (NYSE: AET), which the company said will “establish CVS Health as the nation’s premier health innovation company” and begin a transformation in the consumer health experience. The company’s announcement noted that the closing of the deal brings together the “capabilities of two leading organizations to establish an innovative health care model” and that the new company is “expected to generate significant value for shareholders through synergies and revenue-enhancing initiatives.” In addition, CVS Health said the new combined company will enable “care delivery [to] have a local focus that will make a complicated system simpler for all, helping people achieve better health at lower cost.”

CVS Health initially bid to acquire Aetna in the fall of 2017, as VMAIL reported.

CVS Health president and chief executive officer Larry J. Merlo said in the announcement that the deal’s closing “marks the start of a new day in health care and a transformative moment for our company and our industry. He added, “By delivering the combined capabilities of our two leading organizations, we will transform the consumer health experience and build healthier communities through a new innovative health care model that is local, easier to use, less expensive and puts consumers at the center of their care.”

The transaction values Aetna at $212 per share or approximately $70 billion, the announcement noted. Including the assumption of Aetna’s debt, the total value of the transaction is $78 billion. The combined company's shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CVS.” The Aetna brand name will continue to be used in reference to the health insurance products.

Going forward, Aetna will operate as a standalone business within the CVS Health enterprise and will be led by members of its current management team, the announcement noted.

CVS said it has begun to put the foundational pieces of its new health care model in place and expects to introduce new programs and services designed to increase access to care, improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs for all consumers. The company noted that these new programs will “target better, more efficient management of chronic disease using the networks, technology and the people of the combined company.”

Added Merlo, “As the front door to quality health care, our combined company will have a community focus, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it, will simplify a complicated system and will help people achieve better health at a lower cost. We are also leading change in health care by challenging the status quo with new technologies, business models and partnerships. In doing so, we will continue to deliver on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

Under the terms of the transaction, each outstanding share of Aetna common stock is being exchanged for $145 in cash and 0.8378 shares of CVS Health common stock.