Aug 29, 2017

UnitedHealth Group scoops up Advisory Board consultants

Jim Mone / AP

The Advisory Board Company has agreed to sell its health care consulting business to Optum, which is part of UnitedHealth Group, for $1.3 billion including debt. Advisory Board's education business will be sold separately to private-equity firm Vista Equity Partners for $1.55 billion.

What it means: The deal, spurred by activist investment firm Elliott Management, was expected after a Bloomberg report surfaced in July. Optum will become an even bigger player in the health care consulting space by acquiring Advisory Board, a company that works extensively with hospitals and other providers.

The growing giant: Between this deal, UnitedHealth's acquisition of Surgical Care Affiliates and the Optum pharmacy benefit manager, it's worth reminding that UnitedHealth is not just a health insurance company — it's a behemoth whose tentacles cover almost every corner of the industry.

Go deeper

A closer look at how colleges can reopen

The campus of Brown University. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Masks in class, sports on hold, dorm life without roommates and summer 2021 classes for some: Brown University President Christina Paxson tells "Axios on HBO" it's all in play as colleges consider whether and how to safely reopen campuses in the fall.

Why it matters: An extended shutdown of U.S. colleges and universities would leave nearly 20 million students and 3 million employees with an uncertain future, but premature reopenings without proper coronavirus safeguards could jeopardize lives and force more closings.

How Disney World could host the NBA

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After weeks of speculation, the NBA announced Saturday that it is in early discussions to resume its season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

What they're saying: The NBA's most well-sourced reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski, says "everything is pointing toward" this happening, and that teams could start recalling players as soon as next week for a two-week quarantine period and formal training camp before heading to Florida.

U.S.-China trade tensions are escalating again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the coronavirus pandemic appears to be subsiding in China, it's becoming clear that its targets for the phase one trade deal with the U.S. are unrealistic and there is so far no sign of a plan for renegotiation.

What's happening: White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said Thursday the trade deal was "intact, and China has every intent of implementing it."