ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com / CNNMoney) – U.S. health insurer Cigna will buy St. Louis-based Express Scripts in a $67 billion deal.

Cigna is one of the country's largest health insurers, and Express Scripts is one of America's biggest pharmacy benefits managers.

“Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts brings together two complementary customer-centric services companies, well-positioned to drive greater quality and affordability for customers,” said David M. Cordani, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cigna. “This combination accelerates Cigna’s enterprise mission of improving the health, well-being and sense of security of those we serve, and in turn, expanding the breadth of services for our customers, partners, clients, health plans and communities. Together, we will create an expanded portfolio of health services, delivering greater consumer choice, closer alignment between the customer and health care provider, and more personalized value. This combination will create significant benefits to society and differentiated shareholder value.”

In the deal, Cigna will assume about $15 billion in Express Scripts debt. The merger will also consist of $48.75 in cash and 0.2434 shares of stock of the combined company per Express Scripts share.

“First and foremost, we believe this transaction delivers attractive value to the Express Scripts shareholders” said Tim Wentworth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Express Scripts. “Together, our two organizations will help make the healthiest choices the easiest choices, putting health and pharmacy services within reach of everyone we serve. Adding our company’s leadership in pharmacy and medical benefit management, technology-powered clinical solutions, and specialized patient care model to Cigna’s track record of delivering value through innovation, we are positioned to transform healthcare. We will continue to have a distinct focus at Express Scripts and eviCore on partnering with health plans, and together, build tailored solutions for health plans and their members. Importantly, this agreement is a testament to the work of our team and their resolute focus on providing the best care to patients, and the most value to clients.”

The transaction was approved by the board of directors of each company. The transaction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

As of last spring, Express Scripts employed 6,000 people locally.

This would be the latest merger to shake up the healthcare industry. Last December, CVS agreed to buy health insurer Aetna for $69 billion. Albertsons announced plans last month to scoop up what's left of Rite Aid. Walgreens bought the other half of Rite Aid last year for $4.4 billion.

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