Health and Science

A CVS-Aetna deal could force Wal-Mart to buy Humana, analyst says

Key Points
  • Wal-Mart could consider a deal for Humana, according to Leerink Partners senior health care analyst Ana Gupte.
  • Buying Humana would cost more than $46 billion, she suggested.
  • CVS is reportedly closing in on a $66 billion deal for Aetna, which would be the largest in health insurance history.

CVS moves closer to $66B deal to buy Aetna

A potential tie-up between CVS Health and insurer Aetna may force the health-care industry to rethink and further shuffle ownership.

One analyst sees a natural connection between Wal-Mart and Humana as a reason the retail giant could acquire the health insurer. Humana steers its members to Wal-Mart pharmacies for deals on prescription co-pays.

"Humana and Wal-Mart have been in a very tight relationship for six, seven years," Dr. Ana Gupte, a senior health-care services analyst at Leerink Partners, told "Squawk Box" on Friday.

Walgreens, Cigna and Anthem also may be among those who are looking to strike a deal to better compete in the shifting landscape, according to Gupte.

She sees a potential deal for Humana going for more than $46 billion, saying a buyer would have to pay a "25 percent to 30 percent premium now." The company has a market value of over $37 billion, according to FactSet.

CVS is closing in on a $66 billion deal for Aetna, which would be the largest ever in health insurance history, according to an analysis of Thomson Reuters data.

The deal could improve CVS' competitiveness to offer a fully integrated health insurance and drug service.