UnitedHealth Makes $2.7 Billion Tender Offer for Banmédica -- Update

By Austen HuffordFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

UnitedHealth Group Inc. is launching a tender offer to acquire a South American health-care provider and insurer as it looks for growth abroad.

UnitedHealth said in a securities filing Friday it wants to buy Banmédica SA for 1.7 trillion Chilean peso (about $2.74 billion), or 2,150 Chilean pesos a share. The two controlling shareholders of Banmédica, which is also called Empresas Banmédica, agreed to sell their combined 57% ownership, UnitedHealth said.

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UnitedHealth confirmed in September that it was exploring the purchase of Banmédica.

Banmédica provides services in Chile, Colombia and Peru. UnitedHealth has a unit in Brazil that it bought in 2012, and as of last year, it provided medical and dental benefits to nearly six million people and operated more than 40 hospitals.

The tender offer is expected to begin Wednesday and end in late January.

UnitedHealth expects to close the purchase in the first quarter of 2018.

UnitedHealth shares were down less than 1% in early afternoon trading. Shares in Banmédica, which trade in Santiago, Chile, rose 4%.

The planned acquisition, which advances UnitedHealth's plan to make international business one of its focuses for growth, caps a torrid round of deal-making even by the standards of the acquisitive health giant. In addition to overseas expansion, UnitedHealth has targeted growth in such areas as health-care delivery, health-care technology and pharmacy-benefit services.

Just this month, UnitedHealth's Optum health-services arm said it would buy the doctor-group operation of DaVita Inc. for $4.9 billion. Earlier this year, Optum closed its $2.3 billion acquisition of Surgical Care Affiliates Inc., a major surgical company. Optum also last month took over the health unit of Advisory Board Co., which advises hospital systems.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 22, 2017 15:09 ET (20:09 GMT)