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CVS reportedly agrees to buy Aetna, reshaping health care industry

By Michael J. de la Merced

CVS has agreed to buy Aetna for about $69 billion, in a deal that would reshape the U.S. health care industry, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday.

The transaction, one of the largest of the year, would combine the drugstore giant with one of the United States’ biggest health insurers, reflecting the increasingly blurred lines between traditionally separate spheres of the health care industry.

Under the terms of the deal, CVS will pay about $207 a share, said this person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the transaction before it was announced. Roughly $145 a share of that would be in cash, with the remainder in newly issued CVS stock.

An announcement could come later Sunday.

One of the biggest drivers of the deal is Amazon, which has quietly laid the groundwork for an entry into the United States’ pharmacy business. Jeff Bezos, the Amazon chief executive, and his e-commerce juggernaut have already overturned many industries: book buying, retail shopping, groceries and Hollywood, using fierce customer loyalty and enormous reach as cudgels against incumbent players.

As Amazon secures pharmacy licenses across the country, traditional drug sellers have weighed ways to fight back.

Wary of Amazon’s much-rumored move into the pharmacy industry, the leaders of CVS and Aetna have met several times this year, conversations that eventually led to deal negotiations.

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