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US: Anthem launches last ditch effort to save merger

 |  May 9, 2017

Anthem is making another push to salvage its $48 billion merger with Cigna by asking a Delaware judge to extend an order blocking its would-be partner from pulling out of the deal.

Indianapolis-based Anthem wants Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster to extend a temporary ban on Cigna’s exit for 60 days. The company hopes to work out a deal with federal prosecutors to drop their objections to the combination or to get the US Supreme Court to overturn court rulings blocking it as anticompetitive.

Laster said during a hearing on Monday that it’s a “long shot” that Anthem can find a path to success after two federal courts found the merger was crippled by antitrust problems. He said he’d rule later on Anthem’s request to get more time to rescue the combination.

The company has accused Cigna of seeking to sabotage the merger by dragging its feet on divesting business lines that raised antitrust issues. Cigna says Anthem refuses to acknowledge that anticompetitive issues have sunk the deal in an attempt to gain advantage in the health-insurance market.

Connecticut-based Cigna announced plans to terminate the merger on February and filed suit in Delaware seeking to collect a $1.85 billion breakup fee and $13 billion in damages from Anthem. That prompted Anthem to countersue in the same court to keep the merger alive.

“We have a pretty clear case that Cigna doesn’t have a right to terminate this transaction,’’ Glenn Kurtz, one of Anthem’s lawyers, told the judge.

Full Content: Indianapolis Business Journal

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