Express Scripts, which closed one of two Bensalem mail-order pharmacy operations last December, is buying its rival Medco Health Solutions for $29 billion, or $71.36 per share.

Medco, based in Franklin Lakes, N.J., has a large, highly automated facility in Willingboro. Should the deal pass regulatory muster, St. Louis-based Express Scripts would become the largest pharmacy benefits manager, surpassing CVS Caremark.

Medco said Dec. 21 that its shareholders have approved the proposed acquisition.

Medco indicated that a preliminary count of votes from a special meeting shows that 99 percent of shareholders voted for the deal. About 72 percent of the shares entitled to vote were present at the meeting.

The deal still needs approval from Express Scripts shareholders, and regulators are still reviewing it. The companies hope to complete the deal in the first half of 2012.    - Mike Armstrong and AP