Humana partners with private equity firms to acquire hospice provider for $1.4B

Humana is making a serious investment in the hospice sector, announcing plans to purchase a minority stake in Curo Health Services.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based insurer and private equity firms TPG Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe are teaming up to buy the provider for $1.4 billion, the group announced Monday. They intend to merge Curo with the hospice arm of Kindred Healthcare to create the country’s largest hospice operator. 

Already one of the nation's leading hospice operators, Curo oversees 245 locations across 22 states. 

Humana's shares jumped about 1% Monday following the announcement. The insurer will own 40% of the hospice provider, and the deal is expected to close this summer. 

The announcement is only the latest in a string of acquisitions and consolidations in the healthcare industry. In early April shareholders approved the Kindred-Humana merger. Earlier this month, the insurer also announced it was purchasing a large physician group in Orlando.  

RELATED: Humana buys Florida physician group amid Walmart rumors

There has also been speculation that mega-retailer Walmart is interested in buying Humana, and the insurer's recent acquisitions could be a deal sweetener.

The purchase could be sweet on its own for Humana, as hospice services have grown steadily over the past several decades according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Similar to its Kindred acquisition, Humana said it plans to leverage data and analytics to improve care across the continuum of post-acute care services.