- Shareholders for both CVS Health and Aetna voted Tuesday in New York City to approve the $69 billion merger between the pharmacy chain and the insurer.
- The deal, which was scrutinized by Congress in late February, is emblematic of a quickly consolidating healthcare sector. Just last week, Cigna announced it would be attempting to acquire pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts in a $67 billion deal.
- The combined company, if approved by antitrust regulators, would create a firm with annual revenues of about $245 billion. In early February, the U.S. Department of Justice asked CVS for more information on its bid to merge with Aetna.
More than 98% of CVS Health shares voted in favor of the merger at the special meeting of shareholders, while about 97% of Aetna shareholders voted to approve the plan.
Both CVS and Aetna stated that they still expect the merger to be completed by the end of 2018.
In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Thomas Moriarty, CVS' chief policy and external affairs officer and general counsel, argued the deal would "enhance competition" in the healthcare marketplace.
"By acquiring Aetna, we will now play a role in the patient’s whole health journey. As a result, we will be investing in innovative products and tools across the entire health care continuum — shrinking the distance between the patient’s everyday life and our combined care offerings," Moriarty testified.
A DOJ challenge to the attempted merger of insurers Aetna and Humana nixed that deal in 2017, but Aetna maintains that the CVS merger is significantly different due to its vertical nature.
An Aetna shareholder sued the company in January for allegedly providing materially incomplete and misleading information about financial projections, valuation analyses and the actual merger itself in an attempt to block the shareholder vote. But on March 2, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.