Linklaters scoops New York role on insurer WellPoint’s Amerigroup buy

The US’ second-largest health insurance company WellPoint has turned to Linklaters’ New York office for advice on its acquisition of rival Amerigroup for $4.9bn (£3.2bn).

The agreement, which sees Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advise Amerigroup, marks one of the largest-ever cash deals in the health insurance sector just weeks after the US Supreme Court upheld president Barack Obama’s law to extend healthcare coverage to uninsured Americans.

Linklaters corporate partner Daniel Dufner, who led on the deal from the magic circle firm’s New York office, advised Indianapolis-based WellPoint on the $4.7bn (£3bn) sale of its pharmacy management business shortly before he left White & Case in 2009 (1 May 2009). He advised on the Amerigroup acquisition alongside the firm’s co-head of US banking Jeff Norton, US head of employment Bindu Culas, tax partner Gordon Warnke and competition partner Jeff Schmidt.

Skadden Washington DC-based M&A partner Jeremy London led for Amerigroup on the latest deal alongside the firm’s US and international M&A partner Paul Schnell, who is based in New York but is the leader of the firm’s Latin America practice. US firms Cravath Swaine & Moore and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton also won roles on the deal, with Cleary advising Goldman Sachs as financial adviser to Amerigroup and Cravath advising Credit Suisse, the financial adviser to WellPoint.

The deal will propel WellPoint the position as the top private manager of Medicaid benefits in the US.

Linklaters also advised WellPoint on its $800m (£516m) acquisition of CareMore Health Group in 2011, with Dufner and Culas taking the roles.