Walmart Reportedly in Acquisition Talks with Health Insurer Humana

Walmart reportedly in acquisition talks with health insurer Humana Inc., according to a news reported Thursday. Walmart has started a discussion on a possible purchase of Louisville-based health insurer, Humana to provide health care to consumers at home and prevent illness, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Humana’s shares increased as much as 13 percent in after-hours trade on Thursday. Spokespersons for Humana did not clear details of the potential deal and Walmart said that it does not comment on rumors. The report said that it’s possible that the deal may not materialize as Walmart reportedly in acquisition talks with health insurer Humana.

But this new acquisition would bring perception at the same time when retailers are moving towards the health care area as well as business tycoons like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett are working to make medical services more efficient and less expensive for their employees.

Walmart and Humana work in a collaboration in prescription drug plans for individuals as a part of the U.S. Medicare program. Walmart plans to buy health care for its workers directly from providers in six different regions. An acquisition of Humana made its market value about $37 billion which could be the retailer’s biggest acquisition.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Global Data, says that a tie-up with Humana presents “a potential opportunity for Walmart to bring some much-needed focus and discipline to the health insurance industry. However, on its own, this is too vague a notion to act as a catalyst for a deal; other things have to be in play to make the risks of any tie-up worthwhile.”