CVS Caremark Corp has the ability to make more acquisitions, but Chief Financial Officer Dave Rickard would not say whether his company wants to buy Aetna Inc's pharmacy benefit management business.
If CVS were able to buy Aetna's PBM business, it would give the company even greater reach in the pharmacy benefits business, which CVS expanded with its March 2007 acquisition of Caremark. At the same time, CVS is busy integrating retailer Longs Drug Stores, which it just bought in October.
If we didn't jump on anything for another year I'd be just as happy as a clam. We're generating cash, we're buying back shares, we're doing all the things that make shareholders happy and wealthy, Rickard said on Tuesday.
Last week, a source said Aetna hired financial advisers to help it sell its PBM business and that CVS and Medco Health Solutions Inc were seen as potential buyers. Days later, Medco's CFO told Reuters that his company is willing to spend billions of dollars on acquisitions.
Rickard said Aetna's PBM business is broadly rumored to be available but did not say whether CVS has looked at it.
We are in a position that if something that was very important strategically came along we could act on it, Rickard said in a phone interview. If that were available and the terms were right and the price was right then I think we'd have to look at it.
Rickard also expressed some optimism about the U.S. economy rebounding.
There's a very good chance that we are at or just out of the bottom of the recession. There are corners of the economy that I'm still a little bit concerned about and which could come back to haunt us a bit, Rickard said.
Overall, we are going to start to see some improvement, he said.
Shares of CVS were down 5 cents at $33.95 in afternoon trading. The shares jumped as high as $35.50 on Tuesday on the heels of CVS's stronger-than-expected second-quarter report and higher 2009 profit forecast.
(Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)