(MENAFN) In a strategic pivot, Cigna Group, a prominent player in the American health services sector, has decided to increase the value of its stock buyback program by USD10 billion. This development follows reports indicating the abandonment of its plans to acquire competitor Humana, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. The proposed merger aimed to create a health services behemoth with a combined market value of USD140 billion. According to knowledgeable sources, the deal fell through due to an inability to reach a consensus on pricing and other financial terms. Consequently, Cigna has redirected its focus towards pursuing smaller-scale acquisitions.
Last month, there were indications that Cigna and Humana were engaged in discussions about a cash-and-stock acquisition, with a potential completion timeframe by the end of the current year. However, the recent turn of events underscores the challenges in reaching an agreement between the two healthcare giants.
In light of these developments, Cigna announced its decision to boost the value of its share repurchase program by a substantial USD10 billion. This move raises the total value of the buyback program to USD11.3 billion. The Board of Directors at Cigna has endorsed this initiative, expressing confidence in the company's financial position and signaling a commitment to shareholder value. As part of the enhanced program, Cigna aims to repurchase shares worth a minimum of USD5 billion between the present and the conclusion of the first half of the upcoming year. A portion of this repurchase program is set to be implemented through accelerated repurchases in the first quarter of 2023. The announcement reflects Cigna's strategic response to the evolving landscape of the health services industry and its dedication to optimizing shareholder returns in the absence of the anticipated Humana merger.
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