Months after Humana (HUM - Get Report) and fellow health insurance provider Aetna (AET) terminated their merger agreement on the heels of a judge's ruling that blocked the deal, Humana continues to be a potential acquisition target for Aetna and others, according to Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte in a Wednesday note.
An Anthem representative declined to comment and a CVS representative said the firm does not comment on market rumors. Representatives for Humana, Aetna and Cigna did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.
Although the DOJ has opposed the latest insurance megadeals, industry players say they are still under tremendous pressure from employers, the primary purchasers of insurance plans, to lower network cost structures and pass the savings to customers.
It may seem strange that Gupte lists Aetna as one of the possible buyers Humana, given that an attempt at that combination was recently blocked. But some in the industry are hoping that the Trump Administration's DOJ appointees will be more amenable to company suggestions that a merger will create efficiencies that will be passed on to customers. The uncertainty over Capitol Hill's efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare only compound the pressure, insurers say.
Check out Real Money to learn how Jim Cramer thinks personal consumption dropped after the failure of the GOP's first attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Humana on Wednesday released detailed first-quarter results. The Louisville, Ky.-based company last week pre-announced some of its results prior to its April 25 investor meeting.
Humana reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.75 compared with $2.07 in the year-ago period. GAAP revenue was $13.76 billion, versus $13.8 billion in the same period last year. Non-GAAP revenue was $13.48 billion, compared with $12.91 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
Analysts had forecast adjusted EPS of $2.49 on revenue of $13.6 billion, according to FactSet Research Systems.
"Our first quarter results strongly reinforce Humana's strength as an independent company," said Humana president and CEO Bruce D. Broussard in a statement on Wednesday.
Among the items excluded from the first-quarter adjusted EPS number was the net gain from the termination of the merger with Aetna of about $947 million pretax, or $4.26 per diluted common share. The $947 million includes the net break-up fee "and transaction costs net of the tax benefit associated with certain expenses which were previously non-deductible," Humana said.
The company reaffirmed its recently increased GAAP and adjusted EPS guidance for full-year 2017. Humana last week upped 2017 GAAP EPS guidance to at least $16.91 from the previous range of $16.65 to $16.85, and its adjusted EPS guidance to at least $11.10 from the $10.80 to $11.00 range previously.
Shares of Humana fell $1.58, down 0.70% to $224.02 Wednesday.
Find out why Real Money's Bruce Kamich thinks Humana is on the verge of a major upside breakout.