NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - U.S. health insurer Centene Corp is in advanced talks to buy smaller rival WellCare Health Plans Inc, according to two people familiar with the matter.
If negotiations are successful a deal could come as soon as early April, the people said. Terms of the deal could not be learned immediately, but WellCare's market capitalization was around $11.6 billion at Tuesday's close.
The talks were first reported by Bloomberg, and WellCare's shares rose 11 percent in after the bell trading. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis, writing by Michael Erman; Editing by Tom Brown)