Haven’t we seen this movie before? Anthem cannot block Cigna from walking away from a $48 billion merger between the two insurers, a judge in Delaware ruled yesterday. This is just the latest setback for the proposal and may seem somewhat superfluous because a federal court in February had already nixed the deal. The Justice Department won its case that the merger would violate antitrust law. Cigna said it would seek a $1.85 billion breakup fee plus $13 billion in damages from Anthem. Meanwhile, Anthem is suing Cigna.
In yesterday’s ruling, according to ABC News, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster said that he couldn’t grant Anthem’s request for a 60-day preliminary injunction because the insurer could not convince him that Anthem stood a reasonable chance of overcoming the federal antitrust rulings that would allow the merger to go through.
“That is not an easy task,” Laster said in his ruling.
Anthem and Cigna have been an ugly couple almost from the get-go. The two companies openly quarreled in court, accusing each other of violating the terms of their proposed merger, and that’s one of the issues the government brought up in filing an antitrust lawsuit. At one point, Anthem executives tried to move forward unilaterally since Cigna ceased cooperating with them on various deal-related issues. This stumped presiding Federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. “How do you work on integration without talking to the person you’re integrating with?” she asked.
Meanwhile, Cigna officials were always uneasy about Anthem’s post-merger plans for the company that would be created in the merger.
Source: ABC News