Centene got better deal on WellCare as market slid

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Over the course of about seven months of negotiations, WellCare Health Plans rejected several of Centene's acquisition bids, which at one point hit a high of $380 per share before a market downturn, according to a joint proxy statement filed by the companies May 23.

In September 2018, Centene and WellCare began discussing a potential deal. Centene sent an initial bid to WellCare the same month at $350 per share, which WellCare ultimately denied but said it remained open to reviewing an improved proposal. Another bid in October for $370 per share was rejected.

The highest bid — $380 per share with as much as 55 percent in cash and the rest in Centene common stock — was made in October. By the end of the month, the stock market became unfavorable for the deal, and the companies put talks on hold.

When the payers reached a deal in March, they agreed on a lower price, valuing WellCare at about $312 per share.

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