Health-benefits provider WellPoint Inc. agreed to acquire the managed-care company Amerigroup Corp. in a roughly $4.46 billion cash deal in an effort to expand its presence in the Medicaid space.
Amerigroup holders will receive $92 a share, a 43% premium to Friday's closing price.
WellPoint said that after the deal closes, which is expected in the first quarter of 2013, it will serve more than 4.5 million beneficiaries of state-sponsored health programs and its Medicaid footprint will include 19 states and a presence in 13 states with significant dual eligibility opportunities.
WellPoint expects the acquisition will add to its per-share earnings next year, with the accretion expected to exceed $1 a share by 2105.
WellPoint has been looking to looks to diversify its revenue stream of late. It agreed last month to acquire contact-lens retailer 1-800 Contacts Inc. from the New York private-equity firm Fenway Partners Inc.
The latest deal will make Wellpoint a big player in Medicaid. The companies contend a combination of the health insurers will improve care quality and hold down cost increases.