Cardinal Health (CAH) inked a deal on Thursday to buy privately-held AssuraMed for $2.07 billion as it looks to serve the growing number of elderly patients and the chronically ill being cared for in their homes.

The Dublin, Ohio-based distributor of medical products and drugs to pharmacies said it will fund the deal, currently slated to close in early April pending customary closing conditions, with a combination of cash and $1.3 billion in debt loaned by Bank of America (BAC).

Cardinal Health CEO George Barrett said the acquisition of AssuraMed, a provider of medical supplies to patients in the home, marks a “natural extension” of the business and will serve as a platform to begin offering a variety of its current product offerings to the direct-to-home channel.

"The acquisition of this industry leader allows us to serve the growing number of Americans treated in home settings – particularly those patients recovering from acute episodes and those suffering with chronic diseases,” he said, noting it will be “increasingly important as the delivery of care migrates to more cost-effective settings."

Assuming the transaction closes on time, Cardinal expects it to be accretive to non-GAAP fiscal 2013 EPS by 2 to 3 cents. In the following year, it anticipates accretion of at least 18 cents a share, including the cost of funding the deal, estimated to be between 8 and 9 cents a share.

AssuraMed, which booked fiscal 2012 sales of $1 billion, currently serves more than 1 million patients nationally with more than 30,000 products.

Once the deal closes, Cardinal Health will supply the home health-care channel with product lines including ostomy, diabetes, insulin therapy, urological, wound care and incontinence.

Shares of Cardinal climbed nearly 2% early Thursday to $46.30.

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