Drugstore chain Rite Aid to spend $2 billion on pharmacy benefits manager EnvisionRx

Rite Aid is expanding from running drugstores into managing pharmacy benefits with a $2 billion purchase of EnvisionRx.

The nation's third-largest drugstore chain says it will pay about $1.8 billion in cash and $200 million in stock for EnvisionRx, a pharmacy benefit manager, or PBM, owned by the investment firm TPG.

PBMs run prescription drug plans for customers like employers and insurers. They process mail-order prescriptions and handle bills for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies. EnvisionRx also offers services in a growing area for prescription drug spending, specialty pharmacy, and a national Medicare prescription drug plan.

Rite Aid is based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and runs 4,569 drugstores, a total that trails Walgreen Co. and CVS Health Corp.

Rite Aid shares are up 3 percent in premarket trading two hours before the market open.