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CIGNA to acquire Express Scripts in USD 67 billion

US health insurance company CIGNA has entered into a deal with Express Scripts to buy the pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) for USD 67 billion.

The deal will consist of a cash and stock transaction, including CIGNA's assumption of approximately USD 15 billion in Express Scripts debt. The transaction was approved by the board of directors of both companies.

The largest PBM in the US, Express Scripts is a third-party administrator of prescription drug programmes for health insurance companies. PBMs act as intermediaries between insurers and the drug suppliers.

"Together, we will create an expanded portfolio of health services, delivering greater consumer choice, closer alignment between the customer and health care provider, and more personalized value. This combination will create significant benefits to society and differentiated shareholder value," said CIGNA President and CEO of David CORDANI. And he will assume the role of president and CEO of the combined company.

Following the announcement, Express Scripts shares were up 18.6%, while CIGNA shares fell by 4.25%.

Although CIGNA expects the deal to be completed by the end of 2018, there is a chance that the merger may be blocked by the Department of Justice if it is deemed harmful to competition. In 2017, a judge blocked a USD 37 billion deal between health insurer HUMANA and PBM Aetna.

As one of the largest health insurers, CIGNA currently provides insurance to around 83 million people in the US.



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