(Recasts with deal value, adds details, context)
Oct 26 (Reuters) - U.S. pharmacy operator CVS Health Corp has made an offer to acquire No. 3 U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc for more than $200 per share, or over $66 billion, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
A deal would merge one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits managers and pharmacy operators with Aetna, one of its oldest health insurers, whose far-reaching business ranges from employer healthcare to government plans nationwide.
Aetna shares rose more than 11 percent, or $18.48, to $178.60, while CVS shares fell 3 percent, or $2.22, to $73.31.
Healthcare consolidation has been a popular route for insurers and pharmacies, under pressure from the government and large corporations to lower soaring costs. But both have been turned down by antitrust regulators in the past year.
Spokesmen for Aetna and CVS declined to comment.
CVS made the offer earlier this month, although the two companies have been in discussions about a potential deal for at least two months, the source said. There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached, the source added.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the talks earlier on Thursday. The source did not specify how much of CVS' bid is cash versus stock, but given CVS' and Aetna's market capitalizations of $77 billion and $54 billion, respectively, a substantial stock component is likely in any deal.
Aetna earlier this year closed the door on a deal with rival insurer Humana Inc after antitrust regulators said that combination and a rival deal between Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp were anti-competitive. (Reporting by Carl O'Donnell and Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)