Walmart Is Said to Be in Takeover Talks With Pharmacy Startup

(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. is in early talks about a deal for closely held PillPack, an online startup that could help grow the retail giant’s pharmacy offerings, according to people familiar with the situation.

PillPack and Walmart declined to comment. CNBC first reported the talks Monday, and said the price being discussed was less than $1 billion. It’s not clear if the talks will lead to a deal.

PillPack has raised $118 million in venture funding, the company says on its website. It pre-sorts pills into date- and time-stamped packets for patients who take multiple drugs -- common for older people dealing with several chronic conditions. It has also developed pharmacy software that helps coordinate refills, makes sure the shipments are on time, and provides an online dashboard for patients.

Seniors are a key demographic for Walmart, which runs about 4,700 U.S. pharmacies and has been eyeing how to expand its health-care business for years.

Walmart also has a deal with insurer Humana Inc. to offer co-branded Medicare drug plans. Last week, Bloomberg and others reported that Walmart was discussing a closer partnership or merger with Humana.

The two companies haven’t commented on the reports, and Bloomberg reported that they are mainly considering a deeper partnership to provide care to consumers at or near their homes, as opposed to an outright merger.

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