CVS Health agrees to buy Aetna for $69bn

On Sunday, US-based drugstore chain operator, CVS Health, announced it had agreed to acquire Aetna for $69bn. As a result, Aetna, a US-based health insurer, will see its shareholders receive $207 per share. Of this $207 per share, $145 per share will be in cash, while the rest of the offer will be in the form of 0.8378 CVS shares for each Aetna share. This sees Aetna owning  around 22% of the combined company, while CVS shareholders will have the rest. If the deal is concluded, it will see one of the US’ largest pharmacy operators combine with one of the country’s oldest health insurers. The merger seeks to tackle the soaring costs of healthcare through lower-cost medial services in pharmacies.

In currencies, the dollar endured a volatile session on Friday, as investors focused on whether or not the US senate would pass tax reforms. After a previous close of R13.709/$ on Thursday, the rand made a strong start, surging to a high of R13.658/$, at 10:30. From there, it weakened to R13.778/$ at 12:45, before trimming its losses. The dollar surged this morning after news reports confirmed the US Senate has passed a bill to overhaul the country’s tax system. The local currency was at just above R13.77/$ this morning.

In Asia, markets are mostly higher, with the exception of the Japanese Nikkei. Mainland markets featured as the top performers, with the Hang Seng set to end its recent run of losses gaining 0.68%. The Shanghai Composite added 0.12% to 3,321.65 index points at the break, followed by a 0.06% increase in the Australian ASX. The Japanese Nikkei however, has shed 0,12% to 22,791.55 index points, on track to end lower for the first time in four sessions.

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