Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) — a managed care organization (MCO) — has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Magellan Health (Nasdaq: MGLN) — an MCO and provider of behavioral health services.
The goal of the $2.2 billion deal is to bolster Centene’s behavioral health offerings.
The transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of 2021, will create one of the nation’s largest behavioral health platforms, according to a press release announcing the news.
Such a platform is especially important right now, given the impact that the COVID-19 emergency has had on the nation’s mental health. Amid the pandemic, at least two in five Americans have struggled with behavioral health issues, according to CDC data from June 2020.
The deal aims to help those people. When it’s complete, Centene’s resultant behavioral health platform will have 41 million unique members and improve the insurer’s integrated physical and mental health care offerings. The idea is that doing so will lead to better outcomes and reduced costs for complex, high-cost populations.
On top of that, the transaction will “accelerates [Centene’s] diversification strategy and enhances [its] ability to build next generation capabilities in [its] specialty care business by leveraging [its] scale and investments in technology,” Centene CEO Michael F. Neidorff said in the press release announcing the news.
Centene has been a customer of Magellan’s for many years, making the deal feel like a “natural step,” according to Neidorff, who also serves as Centene’s chairman and president.
Once the transaction is complete, Magellan will continue to operate independently under Centene’s Health Care Enterprises group. By doing so, Magellan will “maintain the independence necessary to ensure continued service to [its] third-party customers while accelerating the introduction of innovative solutions and reimagining behavioral health,” Magellan CEO Kenneth J. Fasola said in the press release.
Fasola and other Magellan leaders will join Centene as part of the deal.
In addition to strengthening Centene’s behavioral offerings, the acquisition will also improve the insurer’s specialty healthcare and pharmacy management capabilities. It will help Centene grow its government-sponsored health plan footprint by 5.5 million lives and add 2.2 million people to its pharmacy benefit management platform.
Centene’s acquisition of Magellan is indicative of a larger consolidation trend by insurers, who have moved to add specialty benefits businesses to their portfolios in recent years. In fact, the deal announcement comes less than a year after Anthem (NYSE: ANTM) completed its purchase of Magellan’s competitor Beacon Health Options. Financial terms of that transaction were not disclosed.