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Judge delays Anthem’s takeover bid for Cigna – The Australian

Judge delays Anthem’s takeover bid for Cigna

Anthem’s proposed $ 62.7 billion takeover of Cigna has been delayed by a judge.

A federal judge said on Friday she would not rule on Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna until early next year, a setback for Anthem’s efforts to hold the $ US48 billion ($ 62.7bn) health-insurance deal together.

The US Justice Department sued last month on antitrust grounds to block the merger, as well as a second major health-insurer deal to combine Aetna and Humana.

The government argues the mergers would harm consumers, employers and healthcare providers with an unacceptable reduction in competition. Anthem disagrees, saying its deal would benefit the public.

US District judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the Anthem matter, set a trial date of November 21 and said she aimed to rule by the end of January. She said during a scheduling hearing Friday that Anthem’s proposed November 1 start date was too soon, while a timeline requested by the Justice Department was too prolonged.

Anthem has been pushing for a resolution this year out of concern that Cigna might jump at an opportunity to back out of the transaction. Anthem can extend the merger agreement to April 30, 2017, but if the deal doesn’t close by then Cigna can walk away with a $ 1.85bn breakup fee.

Anthem wants to expedite the case, saying it would need at least 120 days after a favourable court ruling to secure regulatory approvals from state insurance regulators.

Judge Jackson noted tensions between Anthem and Cigna and said it was a “bizarre situation” that the court, and other relevant parties, were being asked to move so quickly in the case “for the benefit of a merger that may not be desired” by Cigna.

The two companies have had a difficult relationship, with quarrels emerging on several fronts that threatened to undermine the deal, which was announced more than a year ago.

Judge delays Anthem’s takeover bid for Cigna

Anthem’s proposed $ 62.7 billion takeover of Cigna has been delayed by a judge.

A federal judge said on Friday she would not rule on Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna until early next year, a setback for Anthem’s efforts to hold the $ US48 billion ($ 62.7bn) health-insurance deal together.

The US Justice Department sued last month on antitrust grounds to block the merger, as well as a second major health-insurer deal to combine Aetna and Humana.

The government argues the mergers would harm consumers, employers and healthcare providers with an unacceptable reduction in competition. Anthem disagrees, saying its deal would benefit the public.

US District judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the Anthem matter, set a trial date of November 21 and said she aimed to rule by the end of January. She said during a scheduling hearing Friday that Anthem’s proposed November 1 start date was too soon, while a timeline requested by the Justice Department was too prolonged.

Anthem has been pushing for a resolution this year out of concern that Cigna might jump at an opportunity to back out of the transaction. Anthem can extend the merger agreement to April 30, 2017, but if the deal doesn’t close by then Cigna can walk away with a $ 1.85bn breakup fee.

Anthem wants to expedite the case, saying it would need at least 120 days after a favourable court ruling to secure regulatory approvals from state insurance regulators.

Judge Jackson noted tensions between Anthem and Cigna and said it was a “bizarre situation” that the court, and other relevant parties, were being asked to move so quickly in the case “for the benefit of a merger that may not be desired” by Cigna.

The two companies have had a difficult relationship, with quarrels emerging on several fronts that threatened to undermine the deal, which was announced more than a year ago.


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