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Evolent Health stock jumps after report of possible Walgreens takeover

Evolent Health CEO Frank Williams, center, rings a ceremonial bell to celebrate the first trade during his company’s IPO, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, June 5, 2015.

Richard Drew | AP

Evolent Health’s stock jumped as much as 18% in afternoon trading Wednesday after Bloomberg reported that Walgreens-Boots Alliance was considering buying the health-care IT services company.

In trading, Evolent shares hit a 52-week high of $31.88, but the stock has since pulled back to around $29, a gain of more than 7%. Shares of Walgreens rose less than 1% on the report.

Evolent Health was founded in 2011 and went public just four years later, but it has been under pressure from activist investor Engaged Capital to sell the firm. The company’s shares have risen 82% this year, bringing its market value to $2.56 billion.

For Walgreens, the potential takeover could give the pharmacy chain an edge over the competition in the drugstore space as its retail business sees more sales of basic items like shampoo and makeup shift online. Rival CVS bought insurance provider Aetna in 2018 and has since leaned more into providing health-care services.

Earlier this year, former Starbucks executive Roz Brewer took the reins at Walgreens. On Sept. 21, the company announced it would invest nearly $1 billion in specialty pharmacy company Shields Health Solutions.

Walgreens and Evolent Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

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