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安泰CEO:“在目前的资本主义模式下故步自封,最终将导致资本主义的毁灭”

Clifton Leaf 2017年11月07日

随着CVS Health向安泰提出收购要约,这家保险公司的首席执行官对美国的企业发出了更广泛的警告。

上周,《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal )报道称CVS Health正在“商讨”收购医疗保险公司安泰(Aetna),激起了整个医疗业的波澜。CVS Health是美国收入排行第七的大公司,如果收购成功,加上安泰(《财富》500强第43位),他们将成为一个年收入2,400亿美元的庞然大物,业务范围会遍布从药店零售到福利管理再到保险的各个医疗领域。

一般来说,任何巨头的诞生都会引发骚动。不过这一次,人们对收购理由的讨论也令人屏息——为什么CVS愿意以骇人听闻的130亿美元溢价来购买安泰的股份?(根据报道,CVS每股200美元的报价比安泰周三的收盘股价高了大约40美元。周四交易的留言传出后,安泰的股价一路上涨。根据安泰最近一次的10-Q报表,今年6月30日,公司的流通股为3.32亿。)

为了寻求答案,所有的目光都投向了另一家值得关注的巨头亚马逊(Amazon.com),该公司已经露出迹象要进军CVS所在的医药领域。《圣路易斯邮报》(St. Louis Post-Dispatch)报道称这家“万有商店”(The Everything Store)在至少12个州申请并得到了药品批发许可证,又让这些传闻多了一份可信度。

其他人则认为这是出于更加根本的竞争考虑,CVS Health需要安泰(或类似的公司)从而更好地与联合健康集团(UnitedHealth Group)竞争,后者旗下拥有管理式医疗机构(MCO)和药品福利管理(PBM)。的确,Fuld & Company的负责人罗伯特·弗林应该获得未卜先知奖,他早在6月就表示“CVS Health有六大理由应当迅速收购安泰”(你现在可以后知后觉地看看这篇文章,真的相当精彩)。

不过这份传闻的收购意向让我思考的不是原因,而是当事人——尤其是这家很受欢迎的公司的领导者:安泰的首席执行官薄立倪(Mark Bertolini)。

薄立倪想出了一种聪明的办法来回馈股东,其重点在于关注员工的福利。两年半前,薄立倪有过一次高调的举动,他在摩根大通(JPMorgan)的年度健康会议上宣布:安泰将大幅提高公司在美国的员工的最低工资,同时帮忙承担员工的医疗费用。

尽管当时其他人都在嘲笑这份慷慨,但安泰的股东却受益颇丰。自2015年1月宣布决定以来,包含股息在内,安泰给股东的年化回报率高达29%,而标普500指数的平均值为11.1%。在薄立倪宣布当天持有公司股票直至今日的股东,会发现他们的股票价值已经翻了一倍还多(同期标普500指数的收益要低得多,只有34%)。

尽管如此,当我在今年夏末与薄立倪谈话时,他看起来似乎并没有特别满意——至少在美国大部分企业的发展方向上。实际上,他表示,如果让美国实验走向成功的资本主义制度想要继续保持成功,就需要设法让美国工人更多地分享和参与到这份繁荣当中。

他在8月底对我说:“我是这样考虑的。首席执行官必须绘制未来5至10年内世界的样貌。这并非如今的样貌对比其他可能的情况,而是未来5至10年内我们应该变成什么样,对比我们会变成什么样。如果在目前的资本主义模式下故步自封,就会让资本主义走向毁灭。当35岁以下的人中有65%相信社会主义会是更好的模式时,我们就有麻烦了。我们会有麻烦。除非我们开始改变,否则情况就会出现变化——而且这种变化恐怕会很糟糕。”

薄立倪继续道:“我对其他首席执行官的呼吁是:‘我们作为资本主义的领头人,如果不去改变它,就会有其他人来改变——到那时,场面一定不会好看。’”

他继续道:“我认为需要强烈的呼唤来改变现状。除非我们自己这么做——除非人们大声说出来,讨论我们可以如何变得更好,我们的力量可以实现所有人的共赢,绝非几乎无济于事——否则我们就会身处相当糟糕的时期。我专注于向许多人传达这种信息,因为这就是未来的现实。”

当我在9月的《财富》和《时代》首席执行官峰会上见到薄立倪时,他重申了这一观点。

如果CVS的并购实现,安泰的首席执行官似乎不太可能进入新的领导层。薄立倪在安泰建立的企业文化能否存续下去,恐怕要打个问号。如果不能,情况就太糟了——对于股东来说,似乎也是如此。(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正

Yesterday’s report by the Wall Street Journal that CVS Health was “in talks” to buy health insurer Aetna sent ripples through much of the healthcare realm. The combination of CVS Health, the seventh-biggest company in the U.S. by revenue, with Aetna (No. 43 on the Fortune 500) would, if it were to go through, create a corporate behemoth with $240 billion in annual revenue across a wide swath of the healthcare continuum, from retail pharmacy and benefit management to insurance.

As a rule, any creation of a new behemoth generates buzz. But this time, there has been equally breathless talk about why—Why, that is, CVS would offer what, presumably, would be a jaw-dropping $13 billion premium for Aetna’s stock? (The reported $200-a-share offer would have been roughly $40 bucks above Aetna’s closing share price on Wednesday, before word of the potential deal leaked out on Thursday, sending Aetna’s stock due north. On June 30, according to the insurer’s latest 10-Q, the company had 332 million shares outstanding.)

For the answer, all eyes turned to that other buzz-worthy behemoth, Amazon.com, which has given signs it’s moving into CVS Health’s pharmacy territory. Those rumors got more weight after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that “The Everything Store” had applied for and received wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least 12 states.

Others pointed to more fundamental concerns of competition, suggesting that CVS Health needed Aetna (or something like it) to better compete with UnitedHealth Group, which has both a managed care organization (MCO) and a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) under the same roof. Indeed, the Oracle of Delphi award ought to go to Robert Flynn, a principal at Fuld & Company, who spelled out back in June “Six Reasons Why CVS Health Should Acquire Aetna . . . Soon.” (Reading the post now, in hindsight, it’s actually pretty brilliant.)

But the purported offer got me thinking not about the why but about the who—particularly, about the leader of the sought-after company, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini.

Bertolini has figured out a clever way of rewarding shareholders. And that’s largely by focusing on the wellbeing of his employees. Witness one high-profile move the CEO made two and a half years ago, when Bertolini announced at the annual JPMorgan health confab that Aetna would substantially raise the minimum wage of its U.S. employees and also help offset worker healthcare costs.

Though, at the time, others scoffed at the largesse, Aetna’s shareholders have benefitted remarkably. Since that announcement in January of 2015, Aetna has returned an annualized 29% to its stockholders including dividends, compared with 11.1% for the S&P 500. Shareholders who held stock on the date of Bertolini’s announcement and still hold it today have seen the value of their original stake more than double (compared with the more modest 34% gain for the S&P 500 during the same period).

That said, when I spoke to Bertolini late in the summer, he didn’t seem remotely satisfied—at least with the direction that much of America’s corporate enterprise seems to be headed. Indeed, he says, if the capitalist system that has driven the American Experiment to success is to continue driving to success, it needs to figure out a way for American workers to share more, and feel a greater stake in, that prosperity.

“Here’s the way I think about it,” he told me at the end of August. “CEOs are required to paint a stark reality of what the world looks like in five to 10 years. So it’s not what it is today versus other alternatives today. It’s about what should we be versus what it’s going to look like in five to 10 years from now. And doing nothing, in the current model around capitalism, will destroy capitalism. When 65% of people under the age of 35 believe that socialism is a better model, we have a problem. We have a problem. So unless we change it, it will change—and maybe not in a good way.”

Bertolini continued: “My call to other CEOs is: ‘If we don’t step up to change it, as captains of capitalism, somebody else will—and it will not be pretty when that happens.’”

“I think there’s a clarion call to make a difference here,” he went on. “And unless we do it on our own—unless people speak out and talk about how we can be better, and we can lift all boats versus just the 1 percent—We’re in for a really bad time. So I’m very focused on that message with a lot of folks because that’s the reality in the future.”

When I saw Bertolini in late September, at Fortune’s and Time’s CEO Initiative, he reiterated the sentiment.

It seems unlikely that Aetna’s chief would remain in the new corporate fold if the purported CVS acquisition were to happen. And one has to wonder whether the corporate culture Bertolini has built there would survive as well. It would be too bad if it didn’t—and seemingly, for shareholders, too.

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