Aetna fattens shareholder payout after Humana deal fails

AP News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2017 2:45 PM

Aetna is doubling the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders and buying back stock as it regroups from its failed attempt to acquire rival health insurer Humana.

Aetna Inc. said Friday its board declared a quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents per share and also authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $4 billion worth of the company's stock.

The Hartford, Connecticut, insurer had said Tuesday that it was calling off plans to buy Humana Inc. for roughly $34 billion. That deal had already been rejected by a judge after federal regulators had sued last summer to stop it and a similar combination of the insurers Anthem and Cigna.

Shares of Aetna dropped nearly 4 percent, or $3.74, to $125.75 in afternoon trading, while broader indexes edged down slightly.