June 4, 2012 / 7:39 AM / 6 years ago

WellPoint To buy 1-800 Contacts for $900 million: WSJ

(Reuters) - Health insurer WellPoint Inc WLP.N plans to buy contact-lens and eyewear retailer 1-800 Contacts Inc for a transaction value close to $900 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The deal will close in the third quarter and will start adding to the company’s per-share earnings in 2014, the Journal said in its report. The deal will be financed with cash on hand, the report said.

“We see a unique way of tying 1-800 Contacts into our product design,” WellPoint Chief Financial Officer Wayne DeVeydt is quoted as saying in the report.

WellPoint would also get “a diversified revenue stream into a higher-margin business,” the report said, quoting the CFO.

1-800 Contacts has after-tax margins in the “double digit range,” compared with around 4 percent to 5 percent across WellPoint’s health-insurance business lines, the report quoted DeVeydt as saying.

WellPoint and 1-800 Contacts Inc could not reached for comments by Reuters.

Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter

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