By Sy Mukherjee
May 17, 2019

Happy Friday, readers!

We have a veritable feast of must-read features accompanying the latest Fortune 500 list’s release (I’ve included links to several of them down below and will continue to in the coming days). But I wanted to highlight one specific story, penned by our own veteran journalist Shawn Tully, on the status of the combined CVS-Aetna behemoth.

CVS mega-deal with Aetna birthed a vertically integrated firm that its various executives have argued will simplify patient care by providing a “front door” of access to medicine at your friendly neighborhood drugstore. The multi-pronged strategy would incorporate insurer Aetna’s gigantic customer base into a retail pharmacy giant that also happens to control its own pharmacy benefits business and a slew of walk-in clinics for primary care.

It’s an exciting—and ambitious—proposition. But these are the kinds of projects that may take some time to produce veritable results.

“The $70 billion merger with Aetna made CVS the world’s biggest health care company, with projected revenues of $250 billion in 2019. But so far it hasn’t paid off,” writes Shawn. “In the first quarter of 2019, the new CVS posted profits one-third lower than the amount the two companies had earned separately a year earlier. An integration plan targeting $750 million in savings should help lift profitability.” He goes on to note less-than-enthusiastic reactions from the broader investor market.

Of course, there’s much more to this kind of corporate marriage than immediate profitability or market value growth; in health care, things take time. But I encourage you to read Shawn’s deeply reported and insightful piece on one of the most extraordinary health care M&As in recent history.

Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.

Sy Mukherjee


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