Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Cigna permitted to leave proposed Anthem merger


The US health insurer Cigna Corp is free to leave a proposed merger with Anthem Inc, with a judge declining a request for a preliminary injunction to block the exit.

The Delaware Court of Chancery has rejected Anthem’s request to stop Cigna from terminating the deal between the health insurance titans, which a federal court has blocked on antitrust concerns.

The judge did stay the ruling’s implementation until Monday, allowing Anthem to decide whether to appeal.

“We look forward to closing this final chapter,” Cigna told reporters.

Anthem did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cigna had initially been favorable to Anthem’s takeover plan, a US$54 billion merger that would have created the largest US health insurer.

However, the company threw in the towel in the middle of February after the deal was successfully opposed in federal court by the US Department of Justice with backing from 11 US states.

Anthem last week petitioned the US Supreme Court to intervene in that dispute.

Cigna has also filed suit against Anthem demanding a US$1.85 billion breakup fee plus more than US$13 billion in additional damages.

Anthem rejected the claim — calling Cigna’s “purported” termination of the deal “invalid.”

Another proposed health insurer merger, between Aetna Inc and Humana Inc, was in January blocked with a US federal judge ruling that the combination would stifle competition in the health sector.

The companies said they had mutually agreed to end the merger agreement, with Aetna saying it would pay Humana a US$1 billion breakup fee as set by the agreement.

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