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Economy & Business

Cigna completes $67 billion Express Scripts deal, expects to grow in St. Louis

Express Scripts headquarters in north St. Louis Cunty
Express Scripts

Leaders of the newly combined Cigna and Express Scripts are touting the company’s commitment to the St. Louis region.

“We're going to grow here,” said Tim Wentworth, president of the new Express Scripts and Cigna Service. He had been the chief executive officer of Express Scripts.

The Connecticut health insurer’s multi-billion-dollar acquisition of the pharmacy benefits manager closed Thursday.

“Those synergies that you hear talked about and see in a lot of integrations after an acquisition — that dynamic doesn't play here," Wentworth said.

That’s because Cigna did not have a well-rounded pharmacy benefits management system before acquiring the St. Louis County based company, he said.

Express Scripts has roughly 5,000 workers in the St. Louis region and approximately 28,000 worldwide. The Cigna combination creates a company that employs 74,000.

Wentworth is not anticipating any reductions in St. Louis-area operations, as the Express Scripts unit takes over the limited pharmacy benefits services Cigna customers have been receiving.

“That’s why I believe actually over time you’ll see job growth here in St. Louis,” he said.

It’s also why he said he signed a three-year contract to stay and oversee operations in the region.

“In a merger like this, often the CEO of an acquired company kind of vanishes,” he said. “I’ve signed a three-year to stay, because I’m so bullish about the long-term prospects of the combined company.”

Express Scripts and Cigna Services President Tim Wentworth and St. Louis Public Radio's Wayne Pratt talk about the concerns some workers may have and more reasons why Wentworth is convinced St. Louis will remain vital to the overall operation.

The deal is part of a mergers-and-acquisitions trend in the health-care industry.

The owner of CVS drug stores is working on finalizing a roughly $70 billion merger with Aetna.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Walgreens is considering a deal for health insurer Humana.

GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer announced an agreement this week to combine their consumer health units. That potential merger has a direct link to the region, because GlaxoSmithKline manufacturers the TUMS antacid at a facility in St. Louis.

Follow Wayne Pratt on Twitter: @WayneRadio

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