- Anthem told a federal judge on Thursday that its proposed merger with Cigna could fall apart if a U.S. lawsuit to stop the deal isn’t resolved quickly, Bloomberg reports.
- Federal prosecutors have told U.S. District Judge John Bates that they’ll need more than 200 days to prepare their arguments against the $53 billion Anthem-Cigna deal and a separate lawsuit to block Aetna’s $37 billion purchase of Humana, according to Modern Healthcare. That would put the trial start dates somewhere around February 2017.
- Anthem and Aetna are both pressing for early fall trials so they can get a ruling by the end of this year.
On Thursday during a pre-trial hearing, Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who was appointed to make the final decision on whether the Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna deals can continue, said it would be difficult for him to make a decision on both cases by year's end, Reuters reports.
"Unless the schedule is put off, I'm sending one of the cases back," Bates said. Following this thread, it is possible one of the merger deals to be decided before the year's end and the other pushed to 2017. The New York Times reported Bates did not specify which case would be reassigned if that were to happen.
Under the terms of the mergers, both Cigna and Humana could walk away with billions in break-up fees if the deals don’t go through — $1.8 billion if Anthem and Cigna fail to close and $1 billion if Aetna and Humana part ways.
Anthem’s takeover of Cigna is already on shaky ground, with Cigna reportedly having second thoughts about the deal. Cigna is "no longer interested in being pursued," Christopher Curran, Anthem's lawyer, was quoted in Bloomberg, adding, "Speed is essential."
Meanwhile, New York’s insurance regulator said it will hold a hearing to address its concerns about the Anthem-Cigna deal before approving the transaction, according to Bloomberg.
“The Department has serious concerns that Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna will adversely impact the competitiveness of the health insurance market and harm consumers in New York,” Maria Vullo, superintendent of financial services, said in a letter sent to Anthem and quoted by Bloomberg. The state didn’t set a date for the hearing.
If completed, the combined company would claim nearly a third of the state’s commercial insurance market and about half of its market in administrative services to self-insured plans.