- The Justice Department has argued in a new court filing that the long-known bickering between Anthem and Cigna is relevant in the antitrust case that aims to block the proposed, controversial merger between the two health insurance behemoths.
- The DOJ noted the pair have accused each another of breaching their $48 billion merger agreement, and moved to compel the companies to produce their relevant correspondence as evidence.
- While Cigna is said to have developed cold feet on the deal, Anthem stands to lose $1.85 billion in breakup fees if the merger is blocked over antitrust issues.
The case highlights how the companies' conduct together could destroy their argument that a merger would result in benefits including "substantial efficiencies and other procompetitive effects."
The DOJ's motion disputes that claim, arguing the hostility between the two defendants could hamper integration efforts. The federal government has moved to compel the pair to produce the correspondence between their attorneys, arguing that the letters are relevant to the pair's defense and that they fall outside the scope of joint-defense privilege because they are adversarial communications.
If the deal dies, how it dies will determine the fate of the $1.85 billion fee at stake. Anthem had pushed for the trial to be set ASAP, arguing Cigna will walk away rather than extend their April 30 deadline if the deal isn't closed on time.
Meanwhile, even if Cigna would like to get out of the deal and snag the fee, on the surface it defended the merger this week, the Hartford Courant reported. The company said it agreed with Anthem that the deal would bring consumers improved access to affordable healthcare.