A HEALTHY MERGER?

A BIG DEAL MAKES AETNA THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST HEALTH-CARE COMPANY

CONSUMERS AND INVESTORS OFTEN get nervous stomachs when they hear talk of synergy, that snaggle-toothed harbinger of bad mergers. So Aetna Life & Casualty Co. chairman Ronald Compton was administering verbal sedatives last week when he talked about the proposed merger between Aetna and U.S. Healthcare Inc. that will create the country's largest medical-benefits corporation. "The two companies are in fact complementary," said Compton. "They are yin and yang."

Feel better now? If the deal is approved by stockholders, as expected, the combined entity, to be known as Aetna Inc., will provide health care for 23 million people, or 1 in...

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