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Aetna Buys Coventry for $5.6 Billion for Government Plans

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Aetna Inc., the third-biggest U.S. health plan, agreed to buy Coventry Health Care Inc. for $5.6 billion, in the latest bid by an insurer to boost government business under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul.

Aetna will pay $42.08 a share for Bethesda, Maryland-based Coventry, the best performer in New York trading among medical insurers this year. That represents a 20 percent premium over Coventry’s closing price of $34.94 on Aug. 17, which gave the company a market value of $4.68 billion. Including the assumption of Coventry debt, the deal is valued at $7.3 billion, Hartford, Connecticut-based Aetna said in a statement.