Evolent Health’s stock jumped as much as 18% in afternoon trading Wednesday after Bloomberg reported that Walgreens Boots Alliance was considering buying the health-care IT services company.
In trading, Evolent shares hit a 52-week high of $31.88, but the stock closed at $28.94, up more than 7%. Shares of Walgreens finished the day up more than 1%.
Evolent Health was founded in 2011 and went public just four years later, but it has been under pressure from activist investor Engaged Capital to sell the firm. The company’s shares have risen 80% this year, bringing its market value to $2.53 billion.
For Walgreens, the potential takeover could give the pharmacy chain an edge over the competition in the drugstore space as its retail business sees more sales of basic items like shampoo and makeup shift online. Rival CVS bought insurance provider Aetna in 2018 and has since leaned more into providing health-care services.
Earlier this year, former Starbucks executive Roz Brewer took the reins at Walgreens. On Sept. 21, the company announced it would invest nearly $1 billion in specialty pharmacy company Shields Health Solutions.
Walgreens did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC. A representative for Evolent Health declined to comment.
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