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The New York Times reports that “CVS Health, the giant drugstore chain that also runs walk-in clinics and a pharmacy benefit business, is in talks to buy Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies, according to people briefed on the talks.

“Negotiations between the two companies could still fall apart, these people say. But if consummated, the deal could be worth more than $60 billion based on Aetna’s current market value, which would make it one of the largest corporate acquisitions this year and one of the largest in the history of the health industry.”

The Times notes that “the negotiations are also taking place as the online retail giant Amazon encroaches on the turf of well-established players — and the pharmacy business could be next … The talks between CVS and Aetna appear to be in part an attempt to fend off a move by Amazon into the drug-selling business — or at least to insulate the companies in case Amazon does invade.” A combined CVS-Aetna entity would be in a better position to negotiate with drug companies, which could blunt Amazon’s disruptive tendencies.
KC's View:
They’re right to look for a tie-up. Amazon almost certainly is coming. There were published reports this week that Amazon now has licenses in 12 states to become a wholesale prescription drug distributor.