Evolent Well being shares rise following stories of a attainable acquisition by Walgreens

Frank Williams, CEO of Evolent Health, center, rings a celebratory bell to celebrate the first trading of his company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, June 5, 2015.

Richard Drew | AP

Evolent Health’s stock rose as much as 18% in afternoon trading Wednesday after Bloomberg reported that Walgreens Boots Alliance is considering buying the healthcare IT services company.

In trading, Evolent stock hit a 52-week high of $ 31.88, but the stock closed at $ 28.94, up more than 7%. Walgreens stocks ended the day up more than 1%.

Evolent Health was founded in 2011 and went public just four years later, but was under pressure from activist investor Engaged Capital to sell the company. The company’s shares are up 80% this year, reaching a market value of $ 2.53 billion.

For Walgreens, the potential takeover of the pharmacy chain could provide a competitive edge in the drugstore market as their retail business sees more sales of basic products like shampoo and makeup online. Rival CVS bought insurance provider Aetna in 2018 and has since focused more on providing healthcare services.

Former Starbucks executive Roz Brewer took over the reins at Walgreens earlier this year. On September 21, the company announced it would invest nearly $ 1 billion in specialty pharmacy company Shields Health Solutions.

Walgreens did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC. A representative from Evolent Health declined to comment.

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