Centene finalizes merger with Health Net

Troy A. Pentecost has been appointed to the additional positions of president and interim senior executive officer, effective immediately.

By Annette M. Boyle

Centene has finalized its merger with Health Net, creating the largest Medicaid managed care organization in the country while two other major insurer mergers still await regulatory approval.

Centene first announced in July that it planned to take over Health Net, which had been looking for a potential merger partner since late 2013. California regulators' approval of the deal paved the way for the transaction to close.

The acquisition expands Centene's government products to include Medicare Advantage and contracts with Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration, the company said, adding that it also increases its presence in the health insurance marketplaces. The integrated company now insures more than 10 million members.

UPDATE: Centene denies involvement in Medicare Advantage divestitures

Michael Neidorf, the chairman, president and CEO of Centene, will lead the combined company. Health Net's former president and CEO Jay Gellert, and former executive vice president, CFO and operating officer James Woys have entered into consulting agreements with the company.

Health Net shareholders received 0.622 shares of Centene common stock and $28.25 in cash for each share at closing, making the total transaction value about $6 billion, including the assumption of debt, according to the announcement.

The Health Net acquisition is one of three major health insurer deals in the works--and the two remaining still have regulatory hurdles to face. The Department of Justice as well as some state insurance departments are still reviewing Aetna's acquisition of Humana as well as the Anthem-Cigna merger.

UPDATE: Aetna, Humana meet with feds as WellCare, Centene bid for MA assets