Humana, private-equity firms buy Kindred Healthcare for $4 billion

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U.S. health insurer Humana and two private-equity firms agreed to buy home health-care and long-term care operator Kindred Healthcare on Tuesday for about $4 billion, the latest expansion by a U.S. health insurer into patient care.

Humana, TPG Capital, and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe will pay $9 per share in cash for the home health-care provider and hospice operator, a 4.7 percent premium over the stock's Friday close, and split the company into two parts.

Humana, the fourth-largest U.S. health insurer, will pay $800 million for a 40 percent stake in Kindred at Home, which will contain Kindred's 40,000 caregivers that serve about 130,000 patients daily. It will not have a stake in the second Kindred unit, which will contain long-term acute care and rehabilitation assets.

Humana's insurance business is focused on individuals in the U.S. government's Medicare program for the elderly and disabled, and the acquisition builds on Humana's focus on using health providers in members' homes to improve health outcomes and save costs.

The deal comes after deals by competitors Aetna and UnitedHealth that will expand the reach of those insurers into healthcare services in locations and sites that charge less than hospitals.