The word is this company could be the target of the next big healthcare deal -- and now the stock is at an all time high

Pharmacy services company PharMerica’s shares are are up more than 50% in 2015.

This week, they reached an all-time high.

One possible reason: People in the investment banking and healthcare industries speculate that PharMerica will soon be acquired.

PharMerica’s main business is delivering prescription drugs to nursing home. It’s market cap is right around $US1 billion.

Four years ago, an even bigger company in the same business, Omnicare, tried to buy PharMerica. The Federal Trade Commission quashed the deal, saying it would hurt competition.

Yesterday, Omnicare itself was acquired — by pharmacy giant CVS. The price tag: $US13 billion.

Now PharMerica is the last independent company in the space. Many in the industry believes it will not remain independent for long.

“There is speculation PharMerica is going to be the next target,” said Ed Buthusiem, managing director and healthcare expert at Berkeley Research Group.

Buthusiem says buyers shouldn’t be worried about anti-trust concerns.

Lately, mergers and acquistions in the pharmacy and prescription benefit management segment have gotten a pass from regulators, as lawyers for the deals can successfully argue that consolidation in the sector is helping lower the cost of healthcare.

Buthusiem pointed toward other pharmacy storefront operators, like Walgreen, and healthcare conglomerates, like UnitedHealth Group, as potential buyers.

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