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Walgreens, Humana in talks to take stakes in each other: WSJ

A Walgreens pharmacy store sign is photographed in Austin, TX, U.S., March 26, 2018. Picture taken on March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed

(Reuters) - Drugstore owner Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and health insurer Humana Inc are in preliminary discussions to take equity stakes in each other, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

In June, Humana said it would partner with Walgreens, with its unit operating senior-focused primary care clinics inside two Walgreens stores in Kansas.

The companies are discussing the possibility of expanding that venture, among other options, according to the WSJ report.

The news comes amid widespread consolidation in the healthcare industry, with pharmacy benefits manager CVS Health Corp set to close its $69 billion purchase of health insurer Aetna Inc after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Walgreens declined to comment, while Humana did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Shares of Walgreens were down 2.6 percent in extended trading, while shares of Humana were marginally lower.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)