April 1, 2023

DealBook: UnitedHealth to Buy Control of Brazilian Company for $4.9 Billion

UnitedHealth chief executive Stephen HemsleyDanny Moloshok/ReutersUnitedHealth’s chief executive, Stephen Hemsley.

8:52 a.m. | Updated

The UnitedHealth Group agreed on Monday to buy a 90 percent stake in the Brazilian health care provider Amil Participações for $4.9 billion, as the American insurer looked to expand in the fast-growing country.

Insurers like UnitedHealth have been hunting for growth opportunities overseas, hoping to counter tepid business prospects in their home markets. Even the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to increase the number of customers, will not significantly drive profits.

With the deal, UnitedHealth is aiming to capitalize on the favorable demographics of Brazil, which is benefiting from a strong economy and a growing middle class. The number of policyholders for private health benefits rose 37 percent from 2005 to 2011. Even so, only a quarter of Brazil’s population has such coverage. By contrast, nearly 80 percent of Americans buy health insurance.

Amil is one of the country’s largest health care providers, with more than five million customers. It is on track to post revenue of $5 billion this year, 15 percent more than in 2011.

“Brazil has emerged as a consistently growing and evolving market for private sector health benefits and services,” UnitedHealth’s chief excutive, Stephen J. Hemsley, said in a statement. “Combining Amil, the clear market leader serving an underpenetrated market of nearly 200 million people, with UnitedHealth Group’s experiences and capabilities developed over the last three decades is the most compelling growth and value creation opportunity we have seen in years.”

Under the terms of the deal, UnitedHealth, based in Minnetonka, Minn., will first buy a 60 percent stake in Amil, and then acquire an additional 30 percent during the first half of 2013. After securing an estimated $600 million of Brazilian tax breaks, UnitedHealth said the proposed deal would cost around $4.3 billion.

Amil’s founder, Edson Bueno, and business partner, Dulce Pugliese, currently control around 70 percent of the business. They will retain a 10 percent stake in Amil. Mr. Bueno also will buy $470 million of UnitedHeath’s shares and hold them for at least five years, according to a company statement. Mr. Bueno will continue to run Amil and will also join UnitedHealth’s board.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/unitedhealth-to-buy-majority-stake-in-brazilian-healthcare-company-for-4-9-billion/?partner=rss&emc=rss