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    Centene  said Thursday it would buy managed care organization Health Net (HNT) for $6.8 billion, including $500 million of debt, in a bid to keep up with rapid consolidation in health care insurance. The terms of the deal call for Health Net (HNT) shareholders to receive 0.622 shares of Centene (CNC) common stock and $28.25 in cash for every share of Health Net (HNT) common stock.

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    AT&T Inc. (T) was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Cowen on Thursday due in large part to its proposed$ 48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV (DTV). The brokerage also raised its price target to $40 from $35 on the premise that DirecTV (DTV) will be accretive to earnings per share and free cash flow, and that an in-home and mobile video offering would help differentiate the company long term. "We believe over the coming year the acquisition of DTV will prove as much strategically...

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    Shares of Frontline were falling 6% to $2.42 Thursday after the announcement that the oil tanker company will merge with Frontline 2012. Frontline will pay about $1.5 billion to acquire Frontline 2012 as part of the merger. The combined company will have a fleet of about 90 vessels including about 25 VLCCs, 17 Suezmax tankers, 16 MR product tankers, and 10 LR2 Aframax tankers.

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    DAE Aviation's LBO bond this week underscored the uphill battle US regulators have in trying to clamp down on the kind of highly leveraged deals that flourished before the financial crisis. The deal featured leverage of around eight times, well outside post-crisis regulatory guidelines that discourage banks from underwriting deals with more than six-times leverage.

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    Health insurers Anthem Inc. (ANTM) and Cigna Corp. (CI) are in talks to combine after Cigna (CI) last month spurned a $47.5 billion takeover from Anthem, according to a person familiar with the matter. Representatives of the companies met Friday and Tuesday to discuss a potential tie-up, the person said. A deal could be reached in coming weeks, the person said, though there is no guarantee the latest round of talks will result in a tie-up.

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    The following are mergers under. APPROVALS AND WITHDRAWALS. -- China National Chemical Corp to acquire Italian tyre maker Pirelli. NEW LISTINGS. -- U.S. healthcare company Danaher Corp (DHR) to acquire air and water filter maker Pall Corp (PLL). -- Swiss travel retailer Dufry to acquire Italian peer World Duty Free.

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     CHUBB CORP (CB).   had its price target increased to $124 from $105 by analysts at MKM Partners who maintained their "neutral" rating. The insurance company yesterday announced that it is being acquired by fellow insurer ACE for $28.3 billion. The combined entity will take the name Chubb (CB), a testament to the company's track record of success and brand recognition, analysts added.

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    Looking for some investing inspiration to get you through the summer doldrums? The list, published by the bank's investing arm -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- includes eight stocks to buy and two to sell by identifying 10 companies that have short-term catalysts that will presumably cause the stocks to outperform -- or underperform -- peers over the coming quarter.

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     Xoom shares are up 21.21% to $25.09 in pre-market trading on Thursday after online money transfer service PayPal acquired the digital money transfer company for $890 million.Xoom has 1.3 million customers spread across 37 different countries and allows its users to transfer money online through smartphones, tablets and desktops.Xoom will operate as a separate entity outside of PayPal once the ...

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    Centene Corp. (CNC) on Thursday said it agreed to buy Health Net Inc. (HNT) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $6.3 billion, as health insurers increasingly look for tie-ups that can help them cut costs and grow scale. Louis-based Centene (CNC), a Medicaid-focused health insurer, expects the deal to boost its presence in California and other western states, while allowing for $150 million a year in synergies in the second year after closing. Health Net (HNT) shareholders will receive 0.622 shares of...

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    Shares of Health Net Inc  were surging, up 15.59% to $75.20 in pre-market trading Thursday, after the managed care company announced it was being acquired by rival U.S. health insurer Centene Corp (CNC)  for about $6.3 billion in cash and stock. The purchase price is about $78.57 per share, which represents a 21% premium over yesterday's closing price of Health Net.

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    A surge in mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare sector has been a windfall for investment bankers, with fees from activity in the sector up 59 percent in the first half of 2015, according to Thomson Reuters data. Goldman Sachs (GS) commanded 11.8 percent of all healthcare fees, followed by JP Morgan with 11.2 percent and Morgan Stanley (MS) with 6.9 percent.