WellPoint finishes sale of 1-800-Contacts business


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Health insurer WellPoint Inc. has completed its sale of the 1-800-Contacts business it purchased less than two years ago as part of a push to diversify under former CEO Angela Braly.

The nation's second-largest health insurer said last month it would sell the business, which fills orders for several brands of contact lens, to the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners. WellPoint also sold its stake in the website and some technology that allows customers try on glasses virtually to the luxury eyewear maker Luxottica.

Braly resigned in 2012, a couple months after WellPoint announced the 1-800-Contacts deal and after the Indianapolis company reported a disappointing quarterly profit and cut its forecast.

Current WellPoint CEO Joseph R. Swedish said has said that the company needs to focus on core growth of both its commercial insurance and its government business segments.

WellPoint shares slipped 4 cents to $85.96 in Monday morning trading while broader trading indexes like the Standard & Poor's 500 also fell less than 1 percent. Wellpoint shares are up more than 31 percent since a year ago.

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