Cigna Group is planning a “significant” increase of its stock buyback, committing an additional $10 billion to the plan after calling off its pursuit of Humana Inc.
The buyback increases Cigna’s total share repurchase authority to $11.3 billion, the Bloomfield, Connecticut-based company said Sunday. Cigna is also abandoning discussions with Humana, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Sunday that Cigna is walking away from the merger talks. Humana didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cigna expects to repurchase at least $5 billion of common stock by the end of the first half of 2024, according to its statement. A portion of the repurchase will take place through an accelerated program conducted in the first quarter.
“We believe Cigna’s shares are significantly undervalued and repurchases represent a value-enhancing deployment of capital as we work to support high-quality care, improved affordability, and better health outcomes,” said David Cordani, Cigna’s chairman and chief executive officer. “As we look at the broader landscape and the strategic opportunities before us, we will remain financially disciplined with a clear focus on executing against our strategy, delivering value for our shareholders, and investing in our future.
While Cigna didn’t comment publicly on Humana, Cordani said in the statement that the company will “consider bolt-on acquisitions aligned with our strategy, as well as value-enhancing divestitures.”
— With assistance from John Tozzi