CVS acquires Aetna Inc for $69bn, with the drive to transform the US healthcare sector
After two weeks of reporting, it has finally been announced that CVS Health Corp is set to acquire Aetna Inc for a staggering $69bn. The deal will see the merging of the pharmaceutical giant with Aetna’s insurance services, and enable CVS to develop it service offering through a centralised service.
The deal highlights the continued transition within healthcare, where it is moving towards an increasing patient-centric model, where patients are demanding for more personalised, tailored care, which is both high value and cost effective.
The move will also see the two companies enter new markets and develop new areas for growth and innovation, whilst fighting off upcoming competition from tech giants such as Apple, Facebook and e-commerce giant Amazon, and accumulate over $700mn in operating cost savings.
Aetna’s chief executive Mark Bertolini has stated that the deal is “the next step in our journey, positioning the combined company to dramatically further empower consumers.”
“We think of it as creating a new front door to health care in America,” said CVS Health’s Chief Executive, Larry J. Merlo in an interview with CNBC.
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Announced on Sunday, the deal will see the transformation of CVS’ 10,000 pharmacy and walk-in clinics, which will become community-based areas of care, driving down costs for patients and placing them into one central hub, the New York Times has reported.
Nonetheless, the political climate for US healthcare remains uncertain: Medicare is set to be overhauled, alongside President Trump’s dismantling of Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act, creating increased concerns surrounding inflating healthcare and prescription costs surrounding the development of new drugs. It is thought, however, that the deal will also lower current drug prices.
"This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer health care experience," CVS President and CEO Larry Merlo said in a statement to CNBC.
"With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health's human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals."
Nonetheless, the merger requires the approval of antitrust regulators and shareholders, which remains to be seen.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”