- Anthem requested at a Delaware Court of Chancery hearing Monday a 60-day extension on the temporary restraining order it has against Cigna to prevent it from terminating the $54 billion merger agreement between the two health insurance companies, several news outlets reported.
- The companies again accused each other in court of breaching their contractual agreement.
- Anthem attorney Glenn Kurtz of White & Case argued the company could come to an agreement with the presidential administration after President Donald Trump's officials are confirmed, Reuters reported.
The Anthem-Cigna deal may look like it's pretty much dead, although Anthem just filed a writ of certiorari to have the Supreme Court reevaluate the court decisions that blocked it on antitrust grounds. Experts believe that it's unlikely for the Supreme Court to take the case. It only takes about 100 cases each year and they clearly call into question how the law is being interpreted. According to Anthem, "1960s-era merger precedents relied upon by the courts below must be updated to reflect the modern understanding of economics and consumer benefit."
The hearing for the preliminary injunction in Delaware was part of one of three cases that Anthem and Cigna are both currently involved in. Anthem was granted a temporary restraining order against Cigna with the lawsuit it filed to prevent Cigna from ending the merger plans, which it had attempted to do by filing its own lawsuit. That was after a federal judge ruled in favor of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in February and blocked the deal, largely due to the harm it would have on competition in the health insurance market for national accounts. Cigna is seeking more than $13 billion in damages as well as the $1.85 contractual breakup fee.
Even Vice Chancellor Travis Laster of the Delaware Court of Chancery believes it's a "long shot" for the Anthem-Cigna merger to be successfully completed at this point, according to several reports. At Monday's hearing, Anthem accused Cigna of sabotaging the deal by being uncooperative with easing antitrust concerns through divestitures. Cigna accused Anthem of breaching the contract by driving the "transaction into a regulatory ditch," William Savitt of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was quoted by Reuters. Anthem "had Cigna tied up in the back seat," Savitt added. The infighting between the two companies has made it increasingly difficult for them to prove in court that they would be able to effectively implement any efficiencies the combined company could generate.
However, Anthem has repeatedly indicated that Trump's administration would view the transaction more favorably. Trump recently picked longtime Anthem lobbyist Makan Delrahim to head the DOJ's antitrust division.