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WBA, Humana, reportedly pursuing greater ties

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NEW YORK —  Walgreens Boots Alliance and health insurer Humana Inc. are in preliminary talks  to take equity stakes in each other, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The companies, which already have a joint venture focused on serving seniors out that is run out of two Walgreens stores, are having broad discussions that also include the potential of expanding that partnership, the sources said. Details of the talks couldn’t be learned, the newspaper said.

The discussion comes nearly a year after CVS Health. announced a $69 billion deal to buy insurer Aetna Inc. That acquisition is expected to close after Thanksgiving.

For Walgreens, a closer link to Humana could match the benefits of the CVS-Aetna merger at a much lower cost than an acquisition, particularly in light of the strength of Humana stock in recent years. Humana’s market value is about $42 billion, while Walgreens’ is almost twice that. Cross shareholdings could boost incentives for the companies to collaborate and make their alliance effective, the Journal said.


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