WellPoint buys 1-800 CONTACTS

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 18, 2012

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The country’s second-largest health plan will acquire contact lens and eyeglass retailer 1-800 CONTACTS Inc., a Utah-based corporation that offers prescription lenses to patients over the phone and online.

“This acquisition strategically aligns with our efforts to capitalize on new opportunities for growth and further diversifies the company’s revenue stream into the complementary and higher-margin eyewear business,” Angela Braly, chair, president and CEO of WellPoint said in a company news release.

Terms of the purchase were not made public, but analysts reported that WellPoint paid an estimated $900 million to private equity firm Fenway Partners for 1-800 CONTACTS. The deal is subject to regulatory approval by antitrust authorities.

WellPoint is not alone in attempting to diversify its business into consumer sales. For example, UnitedHealth Group last year announced it will begin selling hearing aids directly to consumers.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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