CVS Health announced on Sunday that it had signed a deal to buy U.S. health insurer Aetna for about $69 billion. The deal combines a drugstore retail giant with one of the biggest health insurers in America and “has the potential to reshape the American health care industry,” as the New York Times commented.
One of the largest mergers of 2017, the companies stated that the combined entity would “provide consumers with a better experience, reduced costs and improved access to health care experts in homes and communities” across the United States. They also described their union as “a natural evolution for both companies as they seek to put the consumer at the center of health care delivery. Together, CVS Health and Aetna will be a trusted community partner who will help consumers better manage the cost of the health care they need.”
— CVS Health (@CVSHealth) December 3, 2017
— CVS Health (@CVSHealth) December 4, 2017
As Quartz noted, the proposed merger, which still has to pass regulators, is a response to Amazon’s rumored pharma plans:
The deal is a direct consequence of Amazon’s penchant for disruption. Analysts say CVS snapped up Aetna to stay competitive with Amazon, which has made several moves this year that have pharmaceutical companies atremble. In May, CNBC reported that the company was looking to hire a general manager to develop a strategy for getting into the pharmaceutical business. Then word spread that Amazon had acquired pharmacy licenses in a dozen states. The company said it did so to sell medical supplies, but the move positions Amazon to sell drugs down the line, should it decide it wants to. And just last week, reports circulated that Amazon had held preliminary discussions with generic drugmakers Mylan and Sandoz.
More details from the press release:
CVS Health to Acquire Aetna
Combination to Provide Consumers with a Better Experience, Reduced Costs and Improved Access to Health Care Experts in Homes and Communities Across the Country
Combines CVS Health’s Unmatched Local Presence and Clinical Capabilities with Aetna’s Leading Health Care Benefits and Services
Provides Greater Integration of Care, Empowering Consumers and their Health Professionals to Make More Informed Decisions
Transaction Expected to Generate Significant Synergies for Shareholders and Benefits for Customers
WOONSOCKET, R.I. and HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 3, 2017 — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), a company at the forefront of changing the health care landscape, and Aetna (NYSE: AET), one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, today announced the execution of a definitive merger agreement under which CVS Health will acquire all outstanding shares of Aetna for a combination of cash and stock. 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 billion1. Including the assumption of Aetna’s debt, the total value of the transaction is $77 billion.
This transaction fills an unmet need in the current health care system and presents a unique opportunity to redefine access to high-quality care in lower cost, local settings whether in the community, at home, or through digital tools.
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 a natural evolution for both companies as they seek to put the consumer at the center of health care delivery. CVS Health has steadily become an integrated health care company, and Aetna has moved beyond being a traditional insurer to focus more on consumer well-being.
“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.”
Today, increasing numbers of consumers are taking on more and more responsibility for paying for their health care as the burden of costs is being shifted to them. Together, CVS Health and Aetna will be a trusted community partner who will help consumers better manage the cost of the health care they need. The combined company will also be well positioned to more effectively meet the health needs of many more people, especially the 50 percent of Americans with chronic conditions that account for more than 80 percent of all health care costs. Finally, capabilities developed following this transaction will directly benefit clients of both companies and enable them to better manage their health care costs.
BENEFITS FOR CONSUMERS
Uniquely Integrated, Community-Based Health Care Experience
Consumers will benefit from a uniquely integrated, community-based health care experience. The combined company will also be able to better understand patients’ health goals, guide them through the health care system, and help them achieve their best health. There will be expanded opportunities to bring health care services to consumers every day. CVS Pharmacy locations will include space for wellness, clinical and pharmacy services, vision, hearing, nutrition, beauty, and medical equipment, in addition to the products and services our customers currently enjoy. An entirely new health services offering available in many locations will function as a community-based health hub dedicated to connecting the pathways needed to improve health and answering patients’ questions about their health conditions, as well as prescription drugs and health coverage.
This personalized health care experience will be delivered by connecting Aetna’s extensive network of providers with greater consumer access through CVS Health. This includes more than 9,700 CVS Pharmacy locations and 1,100 MinuteClinic walk-in clinics as well as further extensions into the community through Omnicare’s senior pharmacy solutions, Coram’s infusion services, and the more than 4,000 CVS Health nursing professionals providing in-clinic and home-based care across the nation. As a result, there will be a better opportunity to utilize local care solutions in a more integrated fashion with the goal of improving patient outcomes.
More Integrated Data and Analytics
The entire health care system will also benefit from broader use of data and analytics, leading to improved patient health at substantially lower cost. This will be achieved, for example, by helping patients avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions. Twenty percent of Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital soon after being discharged at significant annual costs, much of which is avoidable. Readmission rates can be cut in half if patients have a complete review of their medications after discharge from the hospital to help them manage their care at home. In addition, home devices to monitor activity levels, pulse, and respiratory rates can be used to prevent readmissions. Rather than feeling lost and confused, selected high risk patients discharged from the hospital, or their caregivers, will be able to stop at a health hub location to access services such as medication evaluations, home monitoring and use of durable medical equipment, as needed. All of these services will complement and be integrated with the care provided by their physician and medical team.
Opportunity to Better Fight Chronic Disease
The combined entity will be able to help address the growing cost of treating chronic diseases in important ways. For example, there are 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes, costing the health care system approximately $245 billion annually. Patients with diabetes will receive care in between doctor visits through face-to-face counseling at a store-based health hub and remote monitoring of key indicators such as blood glucose levels. When needed, patients can receive text messages to let them know when their glucose levels deviate from normal ranges. As a follow up, patients can receive counseling on medication adherence, pick up diabetes-related supplies and engage ancillary services such as counsel on weight loss and programs designed to reverse diabetes through nutrition. This will result in better control of their blood sugar levels and better health, which should be appreciated by both patients and their doctors.
“These types of interventions are things that the traditional health care system could be doing,” commented Merlo, “but the traditional health care system lacks the key elements of convenience and coordination that help to engage consumers in their health. That’s what the combination of CVS Health and Aetna will deliver.”
BENEFITS FOR SHAREHOLDERS
As a result of this transaction, shareholders are expected to benefit from a number of outcomes, including enhanced competitive positioning; low- to mid-single digit accretion in the second full year after the close of the transaction, including the ability to deliver $750 million in near-term synergies; and a platform from which to accelerate growth. The combination over the longer term has the potential to deliver significant incremental value as it will spur the development of new products and generate significant new growth opportunities as a uniquely integrated retailer, pharmacy benefits manager and health plan. Aetna shareholders will receive attractive value from the transaction, including $145 per share in cash, and the ability to participate in the future success and high growth potential of the combined company.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, each outstanding share of Aetna common stock will be exchanged for $145.00 in cash and 0.8378 shares of CVS Health common stock. Upon closing of the transaction, Aetna shareholders will own approximately 22% of the combined company and CVS Health shareholders will own approximately 78%.
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.
Financing of the Transaction
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.
Upon the closing of the transaction, three of Aetna’s directors, including Aetna’s Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini, will be added to the CVS Health Board of Directors. In addition, members of the Aetna management team will play significant roles in the newly combined company. Aetna will operate as a stand-alone business unit within the CVS Health enterprise and will be led by members of their current management team.
Barclays and Goldman Sachs are serving as financial advisors to CVS Health, and Centerview Partners also provided financial advice to the CVS Health Board of Directors. The company was advised on legal matters by Shearman & Sterling LLP, Dechert LLP, and McDermott Will & Emery LLP. Lazard and Allen & Company LLC are serving as financial advisors to Aetna and Evercore is serving as financial advisor to Aetna’s Board of Directors. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is acting as Aetna’s legal advisor.
About CVS Health
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its 9,700 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 90 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 44.6 million, at September 30, 2017, people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see http://www.aetna.com and learn about how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world. @AetnaNews