NEW YORK (AP) — Towers Watson will pay $435 million to buy Extend Health Inc. boost its retiree coverage options for employer-sponsored health insurance.
Extend Health, based in San Mateo, Calif., operates a private exchange for Medicare Advantage plans, which are privately run versions of Medicare that are subsidized by the government. They offer basic Medicare coverage topped with extras like vision or dental coverage.
Under the exchange, employers typically provide a defined contribution to retirees who then use it to choose from thousands of private Medicare plans on the exchange, the New York human resources consultant said Sunday when it announced the deal.
The acquisition is expected to close in less than 60 days.
Citi analyst Ashwin Shirvaikar said in a Monday morning research note the deal will use up Towers Watson cash that could have been used for higher dividends and share repurchases.
"The company will need to justify the strategic importance of the deal to rationalize the seemingly expensive purchase price, in our opinion," the analyst wrote.
Towers Watson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.