Cerulean Accepts WellPoint’s $700M Offer
Cerulean Cos., Georgia's largest health insurer, accepted WellPoint Health Networks Inc.'s $700 million bid yesterday, less than a week after receiving a $675 million offer from Trigon Healthcare Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports. Trigon's "unsolicited" bid came as Cerulean and WellPoint were nearing the completion of a $500 million acquisition deal struck in 1998. The deal had been delayed by litigation over Cerulean's conversion to for-profit status, and Trigon's "last-minute" offer "torpedoed" the deal, igniting a bidding war that eventually ended with both firms offering $700 million. According to a Cerulean spokesperson, the company accepted WellPoint's bid over Trigon's because the "revised submission form from WellPoint was superior in its entirety" (Rundle, Wall Street Journal, 11/30). Trigon declined to go higher because "it wouldn't have fit our longstanding acquisitions objectives," Brooke Taylor, a spokesperson for the Richmond, Va.-based company, said (Miller, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/30). The deal, which now must be approved by the Georgia Department of Insurance, is seen as an "important strategic step" for WellPoint. The Thousands Oaks-based company plans to make Cerulean a "cornerstone" of its national expansion efforts (Wall Street Journal, 11/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.