ST. LOUIS, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Specialty Therapeutic Care Holdings, Inc. (d/b/a AcariaHealth), one of the nation's largest, independent, comprehensive specialty pharmacy companies, from Enhanced Equity Funds and affiliates for $152 million. The transaction consideration is anticipated to be financed through a combination of Centene common stock, cash on hand and existing credit facilities. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approval and other customary conditions. The Company expects the acquisition to be neutral to earnings per share in the first 12 months following the acquisition, excluding one-time transaction costs. This acquisition is consistent with Centene's strategic plan of capitalizing on new opportunities for growth that complement its current core areas of strength. With this transaction, US Script, Centene's pharmacy benefit manager, will now have a sister company that will expand its specialized pharmacy benefit services for complex diseases, including Hepatitis C, Hemophilia, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Oncology. "AcariaHealth's leading specialty pharmacy platform will be able to maintain the autonomy needed to serve all its current and future clients and will enhance US Script's ability to serve as a stand-alone pharmacy benefit management company, which is a key component to Centene's broader product offerings to its state customers," said Jason Harrold, Executive Vice President, Specialty Companies for Centene. "This integrated approach, particularly with high cost specialty drugs, will allow us to better serve the needs of our members, including the high-acuity populations such as the Aged, Blind or Disabled and Dual Eligibles. We expect to further accelerate growth in these areas through the enhancement of our capabilities resulting from this acquisition." AcariaHealth provides a national platform with industry leading technology and an experienced management team that is committed to the long-term success of the business. AcariaHealth also brings strong relationships with pharmaceutical companies and expanded access to limited distribution, high cost drugs.