Sun, May 14, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Anthem gives up Cigna bid, vows to fight over damages

AP, INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana

Anthem Inc has ended its soured, US$48 billion bid to buy rival Cigna Inc, but the US’ second-largest health insurer is not giving up a fight over whether Cigna deserves a termination fee for the scrapped deal.

Anthem on Friday said that Cigna sabotaged the merger agreement and caused “massive damages” for Anthem, which provides Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage in several states.

It plans to “vigorously pursue” its claims against Cigna, it added.

Bloomfield, Connecticut-based Cigna said in response that Anthem “willfully breached” its obligation to get regulatory approval.

It plans to seek prompt payment of a US$1.85-billion termination fee and more than US$13 billion in damages from Anthem “for the harm that it caused Cigna and its shareholders.”

Indianapolis-based Anthem announced its decision a day after a Delaware judge refused its request to extend a ban blocking Cigna from pulling out of the deal.

The deal, announced in 2015, had already been rejected by a federal judge and an appeals court after antitrust regulators sued last summer to stop it.

Anthem said last week that it would seek a Supreme Court review of the case.

Anthem had said a combination with Cigna would have helped the companies negotiate better prices with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and doctor groups, but critics argued that it would have resulted in fewer choices for health insurance consumers.

Anthem shares fell US$1.28 to close at US$181.44 on Friday, while Cigna dropped US$1.79 to US$162.03 as broader indexes slipped.

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