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Fitch Ratings also said the deal will benefit Aetna, but the ratings service placed the insurer’s debt on a negative ratings watch. Fitch noted in a statement that the acquisition is bigger and more complex than other deals the insurer has done, and it will be financed mostly by debt.

Aetna expects the acquisition to modestly help earnings next year, not counting transaction costs. Aetna forecasts a gain of about 45 cents per share to its annual earnings in 2014 and 90 cents per share in 2015 from the deal.

Shares of Coventry climbed 20 percent, or $7.10, to close at $42.04 Monday, while Aetna shares rose 5.6 percent, or $2.14, to $40.18. Broader trading indexes fell slightly.