US health insurer WellPoint to acquire rival Amerigroup for $4.46 bn

US health insurer WellPoint Inc today launched a $4.46-billion cash takeover bid for rival Amerigroup Corp, in order to expand its patient beneficiaries in the state-sponsored Medicare and Medicaid programs to 4.5 million.

Amerigroup holders will receive $92 a share, a 43-per cent premium to Friday's closing price.

The proposed acquisition will make WellPoint the top US health insurer of state-sponsored health care programmes in the US, with 4.5 million members.

The combined company's Medicaid footprint will include 19 states.

The company will also have a presence in 13 states with significant near-term dual eligible managed care opportunities, including a presence in the four largest states that have a combined $105 billion in annual dual eligible spending.

Indianapolis, Indiana-based WellPoint is the largest managed health care company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It has a market capitilisation of around $22 billion and an annual turnover of $56.7 billion.