Walmart in early-stage acquisition talks with Humana: WSJ, Reuters

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As of their Thursday close, Humana had a market value of about $37 billion, according to FactSet. Shares of the insurer have surged 30 percent in the past year, while Walmart shares have jumped more than 25 percent.

The news comes amid a rush of deal chatter as insurers are under pressure to lower medical care costs.

In December, CVS Health announced a $69 billion deal to buy insurer Aetna. That deal would combine CVS pharmacies, pharmacy benefit manager platform and Aetna’s insurance business.

Online retail giant Amazon has pledged to partner with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to tackle rising employee health-benefit costs. CNBC has also reported that Amazon has participated in exploratory talks with generic-drug makers.

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