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UnitedHealth acquires DaVita's medical group for $4.9 billion

UnitedHealth Group is expanding more into providing care. Photo: Jim Mone / AP

UnitedHealth Group is buying DaVita Medical Group, a large physician network that cares for patients in six states and is owned by kidney-care giant DaVita, for $4.9 billion. The group will become part of UnitedHealth's Optum division.

Why it matters: UnitedHealth is known for its massive health insurance arm. But this deal — combined with its recent acquisitions of surgery centers, urgent care clinics, a health care consulting company, a pharmacy benefit manager and other physician practices — shows again that the behemoth corporation continues to expand outside insurance and into the actual delivery of health care.

Get smart: The CVS-Aetna merger attempts to chase after UnitedHealth, which likely either has data about you or covers your health care in some way.

The other side: Reuters recently reported DaVita was considering selling the medical group, which had been losing money. DaVita will use the money to buy back stock and focus on its core dialysis business, which has been under intense scrutiny for financial ties to a charity that helps dialysis patients pay for their private insurance.