The US Department of Justice is preparing antitrust lawsuits to block two major health industry mergers, Anthem Inc’s acquisition of Cigna Corp and Aetna Inc’s purchase of Humana Inc, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
US justice officials fear the implications for consumers of consolidation that would shrink the number of major health insurers from five to three. The department could file the lawsuits to block the deals later this week or next week, the person said.
One year ago, Aetna announced plans to buy Humana for about US$37 billion to link two companies with about 33 million customers. That was followed three weeks later by Anthem’s bid to buy Cigna for US$54.2 billion.
That would leave both of the combined companies closer to UnitedHealth Group Inc, the dominant power in the industry.
A wave of mergers among insurers, drugmakers, and hospital operators has swept the health industry prompted by US President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
US media outlets have reported that the Department of Justice’s concerns about the Anthem deal have centered on the impact on the national employer market, while worries about Aetna have focused on the impact on private healthcare plans.
Shares of all four companies tumbled on news of the expected US opposition, with Aetna falling 2.7 percent, Humana 3.9 percent, Anthem 2.2 percent and Cigna 2.1 percent.
Separately, Monsanto Co on Tuesday rejected a second and richer takeover bid from Bayer AG.
The German drug and chemicals company last week boosted its offer from US$62 billion to about US$65 billion, or US$125 per share.
Monsanto, a seed company, called the revised offer inadequate, as it did the initial bid.
The St Louis-based company said that it remains open to talks with Bayer and others about a deal.
Bayer on Tuesday said that it was disappointed with the second rejection, and took a shot at the company in a written statement.
“The revised all-cash offer is a compelling opportunity and represents immediate and certain value for Monsanto shareholders amid recent weak business performance and Monsanto’s reduced mid-term outlook,” Bayer said.
It said it looked forward to further negotiations.
Additional reporting by AP
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to