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UPDATE 2-Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan healthcare joint venture to shut business next month

(Adds analyst comment, background)

Jan 4 (Reuters) - The joint venture of Amazon.com Inc , Berkshire Hathaway Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co will cease to exist at the end of February, three years after the companies came together hoping to clamp down escalating healthcare cost.

The inception of Haven had jolted the shares of several healthcare companies that feared that Amazon might disrupt traditional insurance and drug benefit businesses.

The not-for-profit venture was meant to address high costs in the world’s most expensive healthcare system and to initially focus on “transparent” healthcare for the U.S. employees of the three companies.

But the joint venture faced hurdles last year when its Chief Executive Officer Atul Gawande, a Harvard surgeon and author, stepped down to take the role of chairman.

The announcement about the role change was the first public statement by the company since it unveiled its name in 2019.

Haven said on Monday the three companies would in the future collaborate informally to design programs tailored to address the specific needs of their own employees.

CNBC, which first reported the company was winding down, said many projects designed by Haven were executed separately by the three companies, eliminating the need for a joint venture.

Despite a premature end to Haven, Amazon’s ambition to disrupt healthcare remains, Evercore ISI analysts said in a client note.

The e-commerce giant had in November launched an online pharmacy for delivering prescription medications in the United States.

“Even without the formal JV, Berkshire and JP Morgan could still remain important partners/customers for Amazon’s healthcare offerings with large employee bases,” Evercore analysts said.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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