Humana rumored to be eyeing Centene takeover, again: report

Rumors are swirling, again, that Humana is interested in buying Medicaid managed-care company Centene.

The speculation is based on chatter that a Humana private jet was spotted near Centene's headquarters in St. Louis, StreetInsider reported Friday.

Humana stocks were trading up Friday morning and as of 11:30 a.m. Centene shares also were up about 4% above the opening price.

It's not the first time there has been speculation of a takeover. Two years ago, Humana shut down speculation that it intended to purchase Centene, going so far as to file a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Paige Minemyer reported.

At the time, Centene was looking to buy rival insurer WellCare Health Plans in a deal valued at $17.3 billion.

Reuters had reported that hedge funds invested in Centene may oppose the WellCare deal in hopes that it would investigate other, potentially more beneficial deals, including a Humana acquisition. 

RELATED: Humana says it doesn't plan to buy Centene 

Centene closed its acquisition of Wellcare Health Plans in January 2020, creating one of the country's largest sponsors of government insurance with 22 million members across all 50 states.

If Humana were to acquire Centene, it would add to its Medicare Advantage portfolio in addition to expanding into Medicaid managed care.

Centene pulled in $31 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2021, up from Q2 2020 revenues of $27.7 billion.

The company also raised its revenue guidance for the year to between $123.3 billion and $125.3 billion.

Centene's full-year revenue in 2020 was $111 billion, up 49% from $75 billion in 2019. The company's profits for full-year 2020 were up from the year before, with the company earning $1.8 billion, up 38% compared to $1.3 billion in 2019.