(Bloomberg) -- Anthem Inc. is near an agreement to buy rival Cigna Corp. for about $48 billion, two people with knowledge of the matter said. A deal would create the largest health insurer in the U.S. after almost a year of talks.

Anthem will pay $187 a share for Cigna, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. That compares with its most recent offer of $184 a share. Cigna closed Wednesday at $151.07 in New York, for a market value of about $39 billion. An announcement could come later this week, the people said.

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