UnitedHealth, LHC Group close $5.4B merger deal

UnitedHealth Group's $5.4 billion acquisition of LHC Group has officially closed.

Home health provider LHC issued a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday to mark the deal's closure. The deal was expected to wrap up this week after LHC submitted a notice to Nasdaq that it would delist its stocks beginning today.

LHC Group will be folded into UnitedHealth's Optum subsidiary. The combination will allow Optum and LHC to harness their joint expertise to offer value-based home care, according to the filing.

"LHC Group’s history of high-quality home and community-based care, matched with Optum’s extensive value-based care experience and resources, will accelerate Optum’s ability to deliver compassionate, high-touch, integrated care," the company wrote in the filing. "As demand for care in the home increases, this combination will help elevate the health care experience for the people Optum and LHC Group serve, prioritizing quality and seamless coordination that reduces fragmentation and complexity."

The deal closed after a lengthy probe from the Federal Trade Commission, which requested additional details on the merger in June. UnitedHealth and LHC extended their agreement to accommodate the investigation in December.

UnitedHealth and LHC also faced pushback from one of the home health provider's shareholders, who sued to block the deal on the grounds that LHC failed to disclose "material information" on the merger. The shareholder's suit said that an SEC filing that recommended stockholders approve the deal did not include key financial details as well as a timeline of the sales process.

This acquisition isn't the only UnitedHealth deal that's faced a controversial path to closure in recent months. Last fall, the insurance giant conquered a legal challenge from the Department of Justice to its $8 billion acquisition of Change Healthcare.

DOJ aimed to block the deal on the grounds that acquiring Change Healthcare could make UnitedHealth privy to data on other insurers that it could use to get a competitive edge. DOJ issued a notice of appeal on the decision but has stayed quiet on its next steps since.