Centene to buy WellCare in deal valued at $17.3B

Centene Corp. will acquire WellCare Health Plans in a cash and stock transaction valued at $17.3 billion, the health insurers said March 27.

Five things to know:

1. The deal, priced at $305.39 per share, was unanimously approved by the companies' boards.

2. The combination, which is subject to approval by Centene and WellCare shareholders, will create a government-sponsored healthcare giant. The combined firm will cover 22 million members, with more than 12 million under Medicaid, about 5 million under Medicare, and the rest served through the ACA individual exchanges and military TRICARE programs.

3. With projected 2019 revenues of $97 billion, a combined Centene-WellCare is expected to save $500 million each year by the second year of the integration, the insurers said.

4. Michael Neidorff, CEO of Centene, is set to lead the combined insurer as chairman and CEO after the deal closes. WellCare CEO Ken Burdick and Executive Vice President and CFO Drew Asher will join Centene's senior management team.

5. The combined firm will operate 31 health plans across the country and be headquartered at Centene's current headquarters in St. Louis.

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