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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

PacifiCare Will Be Able to Conserve Cash

February 10, 2001|Marc Ballon

PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. said Friday it has been relieved of its obligation to buy back about $30 million worth of stock from its largest shareholder, allowing the Santa Ana managed health care company to conserve badly needed cash. PacifiCare said UniHealth Foundation has waived its right to sell 909,500 shares of PacifiCare's common stock back to the company. PacifiCare last year repurchased 1.5 million shares from the UniHealth under a 1999 agreement. UniHealth owns 4.7 million PacifiCare shares, or about 14% of the company. UniHealth can sell its PacifiCare holdings to the public in increments of up to 250,000 per day, up to 1 million shares. After that, UniHealth is under no restrictions. PacifiCare has a mountain of debt, including $735 million in bank loans and $100 million in bonds, said Dan Yarbrough, PacifiCare's manager of investor relations. PacifiCare shares closed Friday at $34.94, off 69 cents in Nasdaq trading.

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