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UnitedHealth Group, Minnesota's most valuable company, has announced it is buying an in-home health company in a deal worth $5.4 billion.

The Minnetonka-based company announced Tuesday that it has agreed a deal to acquire Louisiana-based, NASDAQ-listed LHC Group at a price of $170 per share.

LHC Group will then be combined with Optum, UnitedHealth Group's pharmacy benefit manager and clinic, urgent care and surgery operator, which was responsible for a significant chunk of UnitedHealth's revenue growth in 2021.

The acquisition marks a move into the home health market, one that is expected to grow significantly due to the county's aging baby-boomer population.

In a statement, Optum Health's CEO Dr. Wyatt Decker says the acquisition will "greatly enhance the reach of Optum's value-based capabilities along the full continuum of care, including primary care, home and community care, virtual care, behavioral health and ambulatory surgery."

LHC Group, based in Lafayette, employs 30,000 people and provides more than 12 million in-home patient "interventions" every year.

The deal is expected to officially close in the second half of 2022. UnitedHealth, which posted profits of $24 billion in 2021, said that acquisition would prove "neutral" to its financial outlook in 2022, "modestly accretive" in 2023, and will then "advance strongly" in the following years.

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