UnitedHealth Group, Minnetonka, Minn., agreed to acquire the managed-care subsidiary of farm-equipment manufacturer Deere & Co., Moline, Ill., in a $500 million stock-purchase transaction. The deal is expected to close by April 1, pending regulatory approval. UnitedHealth said the acquisition would extend its reach into new areas in the Midwest. Formed in 1985, John Deere Health Care has 400,000 members in Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia -- areas largely outside those now served by UnitedHealth. The deal continues a buying binge for the nation's second-largest health insurer, which is in the process of completing a $9.2 million acquisition of PacifiCare Health Systems, Cypress, Calif. The insurer spent a total of more than $9 billion last year buying Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Rockville, Md.; Oxford Health Plans, Trumbull, Conn.; health savings account provider Definity Health Corp., Minneapolis; and provider-owned HMO Touchpoint Health Plan, Appleton, Wis. -- by Laura B. Benko
UnitedHealth to buy John Deere managed-care arm
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