Cigna to buy Express Scripts in $67B deal

Cigna announced plans to acquire Express Scripts in a deal worth $67 billion. (Pixabay)

Cigna announced Thursday that it would purchase Express Scripts, the country's largest pharmacy benefit management firm, in a deal worth $67 billion. 

The companies said the merger will offer three main strategic benefits, according to the announcement

  1. More choices for consumers. Acquiring Express Scripts will allow Cigna to offer a full suite of different services at many locations, offering more options for members.
  2. Increased collaboration with providers. The merger deal would allow the combined entity to align better with providers, according to the announcement, offering more coordinated and less complex care. 
  3. Additional opportunities for personalization. The combined company would harness the power of data analytics and other tools to offer its members more personalized care. 

"This combination accelerates Cigna's enterprise mission of improving the health, well-being and sense of security of those we serve, and, in turn, expanding the breadth of services for our customers, partners, clients, health plans and communities," Cigna CEO David Cordani said in the announcement. 

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The combined entity would retain the name Cigna, and Cigna's headquarters in Bloomfield, Connecticut, will oversee the joint venture. Express Scripts will continue to operate in St. Louis. 

Cordani will become CEO of the joint venture, and Express Scripts CEO Tim Wentworth will continue as president of the PBM. The deal was approved by the boards of both companies and will include both stocks and cash, according to the announcement. Cigna will also assume about $15 million in Express Scripts' debt. 

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Wentworth said in the announcement that the deal shows Express Scripts' commitment to providing high-quality care to its members. 

"Adding our company's leadership in pharmacy and medical benefit management, technology-powered clinical solutions and specialized patient care model to Cigna's track record of delivering value through innovation, we are positioned to transform healthcare," Wentworth said. 

The Cigna-Express Scripts deal comes on the heels of a similar vertical merger, the one planned between CVS and Aetna. That deal, valued at $69 billion, would also combine one of the nation's largest payers with a major PBM. 

Consumers advocates have warned that deal could be anticompetitive and lead to fewer options for patients. Both CVS and Aetna have pledged that the deal, if confirmed, would not lead to service restrictions. 

Cigna had also previously attempted a merger with Anthem, which was abandoned last May.