Salem Radio Network News Sunday, October 1, 2023


UnitedHealth offers over $3 billion for home health firm Amedisys

By Leroy Leo

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group on Monday made a surprise $3.26 billion all-cash offer to acquire Amedisys Inc, pitting itself against another healthcare company set to buy the home health and hospice care firm.

Interest in the home health sector has jumped since the pandemic as patients and caregivers increasingly prefer accessing medical services from the safety of their homes.

UnitedHealth, through its Optum unit, offered to pay $100 per share in cash, just a month after Amedisys agreed to be bought by Option Care Health Inc for $97.38 per share in an all-stock deal.

If Optum’s offer is accepted by Amedisys, the deal will expand UnitedHealth’s presence in home healthcare that it bolstered this year through a $5.4 billion deal to buy Amedisys’ rival, LHC Group.

Several analysts raised concerns that a UnitedHealth deal would likely face scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, given UnitedHealth’s home health presence.

“First thing that comes to mind…FTC!” Jefferies analyst Brian Tanquilut said in a note, but added the transaction looks approvable after an objective analysis of (the) home healthcare market, which is fragmented and does not have a dominant player.

Amedisys’ board has not yet determined whether Optum’s offer is superior to Option Health’s and is currently in exploratory discussions with the UnitedHealth unit.

Optum’s offer was at a 26% premium to Amedisys’ last close price, and sent the company’s shares up 14% to $90.94 in morning trading.

Option Care said its offer was still a “compelling all-stock transaction”. Its shares, which have fallen 11% since it announced the deal, rose 7% on Monday.

“Overall, this new wrinkle would seem to give Amedisys options should it have regrets about its original deal,” Oppenheimer analyst Michael Wiederhorn said.

Amedisys will have to pay Option $106 million if it terminates their agreement.

(Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shinjini Ganguli)


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