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Anthem set to announce deal for Cigna this week: source

The office building of health insurer Anthem is seen in Newbury Park, California February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

By Greg Roumeliotis

(Reuters) - Health insurer Anthem Inc is close to finalizing negotiations to acquire peer Cigna Inc and could announce a roughly $48 billion deal as early as this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Most issues that were preventing a deal, such as price and the role of Cigna Chief Executive David Cordani, have been resolved, the person said, without offering details. Anthem has slightly improved on its previous cash and stock offer of $184 per share, the person added.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Anthem was nearing an agreement to pay about $187 per share for Cigna.

Anthem and Cigna did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cigna shares jumped 6.5 percent in after-hours trading to $161 while Anthem's shares were marginally lower after closing at $155.10 on Wednesday.

A merger between the two health insurers would follow Aetna Inc's deal to buy Humana Inc for $37 billion, part of an industry consolidation following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Obamacare reforms.

Anthem said in June that it had made several offers for Cigna but a deal had been delayed due in part to differences over who would lead the company and corporate governance. Cigna also said it was concerned that other members of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association would be an obstacle.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Ken Wills)