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Walgreens said to weigh takeover of Evolent Health – Crain’s Chicago Business

(Bloomberg)—Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is weighing an acquisition of Evolent Health Inc., the health-care group that has been under activist investor pressure to consider a sale, according to people familiar with the matter. Evolent rose as much as 18% on the news. 

The U.S. drugstore chain has discussed a deal with Arlington, Virginia-based Evolent, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Deliberations are ongoing and there is no certainty that Walgreens will decide to move forward with an offer to buy the company, the people added. 

Evolent rose 7.2% to close at $28.94 in New York Wednesday, giving the company a market value of about $2.5 billion.

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Representatives for Walgreens and Evolent declined to comment. 

Evolent runs a platform that helps providers like hospitals and doctors manage their costs. It also seeks to equip them to transition to a so-called value-based care model, under which doctors and hospitals are reimbursed for the quality of care they provide, rather than the amount.

Evolent also works on behalf of health insurers to help get approvals, cut costs and provide guidance to doctors about the optimal way to treat patients. It’s expanded that business through the 2018 purchase of a specialty benefits company New Century Health, which focuses on oncology and cardiology.

For Walgreens, a deal with Evolent would help it diversify away from the traditional retail pharmacy business by giving it exposure to a technology-enabled platform and relationships with payers like commercial insurers and the government.

Activist investor Engaged Capital disclosed a nearly 10% stake in Evolent in August 2020 and pushed it to explore ways to create value, including through a partial or full sale. Engaged won a settlement with the company that led to the creation of new committee charged with improving investor returns. 

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