Caremark shareholders approved a $26.5 billion acquisition by CVS on Friday, creating one of the largest competitors in the prescription drug industry, the company said.
The combined forces of the second-largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager and the nation's largest retail pharmacy chain are expected to increase their bargaining power with drug makers and edge out competitors like Walgreens, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and also Medco Health Solutions Inc., the largest benefits manager.
Express Scripts Inc. and CVS Corp. have been in a bidding war for months to acquire Caremark Rx Inc. But increased antitrust scrutiny of the Express Scripts' proposal and the decision earlier this week not to increase its offer turned the bidding war in CVS' favor, some analysts said.
CVS has plans to build a new pharmacy at 23rd and Iowa streets in Lawrence.