Hedge fund with $300M stake in Centene wants insurer to mull sale

Activist hedge fund Third Point wants Centene to look into selling itself before buying WellCare Health Plans, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

The hedge fund, led by billionaire Daniel Loeb, owns at least $300 million in Centene shares and could have significantly more exposure to changes in the health insurer's stock. As a result, its involvement could exert more influence over Centene shareholders. Two other hedge funds, Corvex Management and Sachem Head Capital Management, have also questioned the $15.3 billion WellCare deal.

The firms said they think Centene could do more to discover if another company, such as Humana, may be interested in acquiring it. The activists are not necessarily planning on getting shareholders to vote against the WellCare deal, sources told WSJ, but would like Centene to consider any potential buyers before closing the deal.

In a statement to WSJ, Centene said its board considers all deals and stands behind WellCare being in the best interest for shareholders. Shareholders are set to vote on the deal, which was announced in March, June 24.

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