By Dana Mattioli and Dana Cimilluca
Health insurer Cigna Corp. is nearing a deal to buy Express Scripts Holding Co., according to people familiar with the matter.
A deal could be announced as soon as Thursday, the people said. As of Wednesday, Express Scripts had a market value of $41 billion, meaning that with a typical premium the transaction could be worth $50 billion or more.
Terms of the expected deal couldn't be learned.
St. Louis-based Express Scripts is a pharmacy-benefit manager. Such companies serve as middlemen that help negotiate discounts with drug makers.
The combination would be the latest in a flurry of proposed tie-ups in the rapidly changing healthcare-services business.
Late last year, CVS Health Corp. inked a nearly $70 billion deal to buy Aetna Inc. In 2015, Aetna agreed to buy fellow health insurer Humana Inc. in a $37 billion deal that was later terminated following regulatory scrutiny. That same year, Cigna agreed to combine with Anthem Inc., a deal that was also blocked by regulators.
Late last year, Anthem said it would launch its own PBM, dealing a blow to Express Scripts, which is a partner of the health insurer.
Write to Dana Mattioli at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dana Cimilluca at email@example.com