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Humana throws cold water on potential deal with Centene

Humana Inc. said it will not make a proposal to combine with Centene Corp. as an alternative to the latter's pending acquisition of WellCare Health Plans Inc.

Humana said that although its policy is and remains not to comment on rumors or speculation regarding possible M&A activity, it decided to make a one-time statement "in light of the significant investor speculation and persistent market rumors" regarding a potential combination with Centene.

The Wall Street Journal reported in May that hedge funds Third Point LLC, Corvex Management LP and Sachem Head Capital Management LP wanted Centene to weigh a sale, potentially to Humana, before sealing its acquisition of WellCare.