Pacificare, which employs several hundred in Letterkenny, has just been bought by UnitedHealth group, a large US medical insurer, according to this article from a San Francisco newspaper. The deal will create either the largest, or second largest (dependent on source) insurer in the USA.
At this early stage it is difficult to comment on what will happen. Many will be afraid that, as Pacificare is the junior partner in this merger, there staff will be more likely to lose their jobs. It must be said, however, that Pacificare has always shown a strong commitment to Letterkenny, and is currently advertising for job recruits. This deal will have been ongoing for some time, so we can take that as positive news. Pacificare’s Letterkenny employees have shown, time and again, to be among the most productive throughout the company. It’s also important to point out that none of the US news sources have mentioned Job losses or cost cutting as a reason for this deal.
Another important point to remember is that, while this deal has only been announced today, it must have been in the pipeline for some time. In recent weeks, PacifiCare has been aggresively recruiting new staff in the local press. This must be a good sign.
I’ll add more info to this as I find out. I am hopeful this will not lead to any job losses in Letterkenny, but we cannot be sure.
More info on this deal: Market Watch and Chicago Tribune
Update: According to CBS News, this deal still needs approval from the Government in the USA, but we don’t know when that will happen. It doesn’t look like it will be an issue though. This article also states that both companies have not said anything (yet) about any layoffs or down-sizing.
Update: The CEO of UnitedHealth, who are acquiring PacifiCare, has been quoted on this news website that the deal “complements what we’ve been trying to do for a number of years”. Again, no mention of job cuts. He expects the deal to be finalised either late this year or early 2006.
Update: According to Highland Radio’s sources, the employees at PacifiCare in Letterkenny have been told their jobs are safe
Update (July 8th): This article at Medical News Today states that “most of PacifiCare’s 10,500 employees will retain their jobs” (under “Acquisition Details”). Still no statement from the company. This article says the deal is worth $9.2 billion, as they include $1.1 billion of assumed debt.
Update (July 14th): Today’s Donegal Democrat features a new advertisement for staff at PacifiCare in Letterkenny.