American health insurer UnitedHealth Group has agreed to purchase LHC Group in a cash deal valued at approximately $5.4bn, to expand its home health services. 

UnitedHealth’s home-health business Optum Health will pay $170 in cash for each share of LHC’s stock.

LHC Group offers in-home health as well as hospice care in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

Lafayette, Louisiana based company employs 30,000 people and has 964 locations.

The acquired business will become part of Optum Health, which operates primary care clinics and surgery centers across the US and works with more than 100 health plans.

Optum Health CEO Wyatt Decker said: “LHC Group’s sophisticated care coordination capabilities and its warm, human touch is so important for home care, and will greatly enhance the reach of Optum’s value-based capabilities along the full continuum of care, including primary care, home and community care, virtual care, behavioral health and ambulatory surgery.

“We greatly admire how the people of LHC Group have created a culture that enables them to be a trusted health care partner to patients and their families when they need it the most, and we look forward to working with and learning from them.”

The deal ensues the US Justice Department objecting to UnitedHealth’s $8bn deal for Change Healthcare saying the deal would give UnitedHealth access to its competitors’ data.

Subject to receipt of various approvals, the deal is expected to conclude in the second half of this year.

LHC Group chairman and CEO Keith Myers said: “As part of the Optum team and its value-based capabilities, we will be able to expand our patient-centered mission and help drive best care practices across the country.

“Working together as organizations committed to caring for the most vulnerable in society will help us more effectively and efficiently deliver high quality and increasingly value-based care in the home.”

Following the closure of the deal, co-founders Keith and Ginger Myers will invest $10m in UnitedHealth Group stock.