By DANIEL TAUB Staff Reporter Just over a month after CareAmerica Health Plans signed a 10-year lease for a new San Fernando Valley headquarters, Blue Shield of California announced that it is buying the Woodland Hills-based HMO and CareAmerica Life Insurance Co. for $175 million. Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to state and federal regulatory approval, CareAmerica Health Plans would be converted from a for-profit health maintenance organization to a not-for-profit. CareAmerica and Blue Shield officials said late last month that they did not yet know what layoffs might come from the acquisition, but that the areas most likely to be affected are administration, advertising and Medicare program management. “In general, our transition teams are not going to be looking only at positions but at best practices of both organizations,” said Alan Puzarne, Blue Shield’s regional chief executive for Southern California. CareAmerica Health Plans has about 700 employees in Southern California, with about 600 of them working in sales, marketing, customer service, finance or information services jobs at the company’s Woodland Hills headquarters. The company in June signed a 10-year, $35 million lease for 162,000 square feet of office space at West Hills Corporate Village, a $100 million office park being co-developed by Regent Properties Inc. and Shamrock Holdings Inc. That project has been slated to begin construction within the new few weeks, and CareAmerica is slated to move into its new headquarters space in October 1998. Regent and Shamrock officials were not immediately available to comment on the status of the project, and CareAmerica officials said they did not yet know what would become of their plans to relocate. “That lease is in place so, certainly, one of the issues that needs to come in during the integration discussions is what to do about that,” said Ross Goldberg, senior vice president with CareAmerica. Puzarne of Blue Shield said that the newly joined company would likely use the offices, since Blue Shield already was looking to locate employees in the San Fernando Valley. “I expect we will be using that facility,” Puzarne said. Blue Shield’s purchase of CareAmerica from its parent holding company Unihealth is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. In the meantime, CareAmerica will continue to operate independently.