Anthem Wins Bid to Block Cigna From Dumping $48 Billion Deal

Cigna Corp. announced Tuesday it has terminated the proposed merger agreement with Anthem Inc., citing last week's federal court ruling blocking Anthem's proposed $48 billion purchase of the Bloomfield insurer.

Cigna also filed a lawsuit in DE, seeking legal sanction for its decision to end the deal and approval for $13 billion in damages for its shareholders who did not receive the takeover premium.

Besides paying Humana a $1 billion breakup fee - about $630 million net of tax - Aetna also killed its deal with Molina Healthcare to sell some Medicare Advantage assets, which will lead to undisclosed fees.

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But in a statement issued Tuesday, Cigna said that given the court's decision, it "believes that the transaction can not and will not achieve regulatory approval and that terminating the agreement is in the best interest of Cigna's shareholders". Aetna and Humana called off their $34 merger agreement, which was also opposed by the Justice Department and blocked by a federal court.

Humana shares were down 0.35 percent in late-afternoon trading on Wednesday. In addition, Aetna said that it would redeem the notes, which was issued to buy Humana, for cash. However, the companies have been bickering privately for months, and those tensions exploded into the public Tuesday as Cigna sued to end their deal and Anthem moments later said it would fight to keep the merger alive.

An Anthem spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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Anthem nearly immediately filed a notice of appeal of that ruling and said Wednesday the company "is pursuing an expedited appeal of the District Court's decision and is committed to completing this value-creating merger either through a successful appeal or through settlement with the new leadership at the Department of Justice". Indianapolis-based Anthem had said that it would appeal the ruling. The fate of both deals represents a victory for the Obama administration's antitrust officials, who were able to win the cases despite major differences between the two transactions. Aetna and Humana are two of the five largest insurance companies in the U.S.

Aetna and Humana announced Tuesday they were ending their deal. Both merger deals had already been rejected by federal regulators and judges, but the companies were considering appeals to those decisions.

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