Centene got better deal on WellCare as market slid

Over the course of about seven months of negotiations, WellCare Health Plans rejected several of Centene's acquisition bids, which at one point hit a high of $380 per share before a market downturn, according to a joint proxy statement filed by the companies May 23.

In September 2018, Centene and WellCare began discussing a potential deal. Centene sent an initial bid to WellCare the same month at $350 per share, which WellCare ultimately denied but said it remained open to reviewing an improved proposal. Another bid in October for $370 per share was rejected.

The highest bid — $380 per share with as much as 55 percent in cash and the rest in Centene common stock — was made in October. By the end of the month, the stock market became unfavorable for the deal, and the companies put talks on hold.

When the payers reached a deal in March, they agreed on a lower price, valuing WellCare at about $312 per share.

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