PacifiCare Plans Stock Offering

TIMES STAFF WRITER

PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Orange County's largest health-maintenance organization, said Friday that it is planning a public offering of 3 million shares of stock, in part to raise money for future acquisitions.

"We see the industry consolidating very rapidly," said Alan Hoops, chief operating officer. "The number of HMOs is in decline, and the number of merger and acquisition opportunities is growing."

Half of the shares of non-voting Class B common stock would be offered by the HMO, while its majority shareholder, UniHealth America, would issue the remaining 1.5 million shares, the company said.

Another 450,000 shares, subject to an over-allotment option, would be offered jointly by PacifiCare and UniHealth America.

Money raised in the offering would also be used to increase working capital, expand the HMO's facilities to new areas and for general corporate purposes. Pending approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission, PacifiCare said, it expects to begin selling shares by late October.

PacifiCare's Class A stock closed Friday at $38 a share, down $4.50, in trading on the NASDAQ market.

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