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CVS to Buy Aetna for $69 Billion

By William Vogeler, Esq. on December 04, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you thought you saw this movie before, it was actually in a different universe.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Aetna announced that it bought Humana for about $37 billion. That was before a black-robed judge shot the deal down.

Now CVS is buying Aetna in a $69 billion merger. That's what's playing now, and it's probably not a sequel.

It's Really Happening?

If you have skin in the game, don't worry about your stock portfolio being affected by fake news. It's real news, and CBS did not break the story about this deal.

According to multiple reports, CVS wants to change the health care business through the merger. It is already the nation's biggest drugstore chain, and will add Aetna's 22-million member insurance rolls to its pharmacy benefits.

"Together we plan to build an entirely new health care concept," said Larry Merlo, chief executive officer of CVS.

Merlo said they want to make health care easier to use and more affordable for consumers. Others say, not so fast.

What Are the Real Costs?

Michael Hiltzik, a Los Angeles Times columnist, says consumers should be skeptical about the cost of the deal -- assuming it goes through.

He said the merger could set off more consolidations in the market, which would give surviving companies "less incentive to undercut each other by demanding greater discounts from drug companies."

"The result: higher prices," he wrote.

Of course, it's not over until the pharmacist sings. Aetna has seen this movie before, and had to pay a $1 billion termination fee for the deal that fell apart last time.

Remember, the guy in the black robe who said it violated antitrust laws? So far, he is not in this story.

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