Cigna agrees to buy Express Scripts

Health insurer Cigna announced early Thursday that it has agreed to purchase Express Scripts in a $67 billion cash-and-stock deal, including the assumption of about $15 billion in debt. A deal between the two companies would follow the $69 billion acquisition of Aetna by CVS Health.

Health insurer Cigna announced early Thursday that it has agreed to purchase Express Scripts in a $67 billion cash-and-stock deal, including the assumption of about $15 billion in debt. A deal between the two companies would follow the $69 billion acquisition of Aetna by CVS Health. In addition, it would reflect a move toward vertical consolidation where members of a supply chain combine. Health care payers and pharmacies are responding to a shifting landscape, including rising drug prices and the threat of competition from online retailers such as Amazon. Express Scripts ranks as the largest administrator of prescription-drug benefits in the United States. Its clients range from Walmart to the U.S. Defense Department. The mega-deal comes as Express Scripts is losing its biggest client. In 2017, health insurer Anthem announced it would set up its own PBM unit, signaling a permanent and final break with Express Scripts after accusing it of overcharging by billions of dollars. The combined company would be named Cigna and would be based in Bloomfield, CT, where Cigna currently has its headquarters. Express Scripts would continue to have its headquarters in St. Louis. David Cordani, the Cigna president and CEO, would serve as president and CEO of the combined company, while Tim Wentworth, the Express Scripts CEO, would serve as president of the Express Scripts business.