Anthem last week extended the deadline to complete its $54.2 billion tie-up with Cigna through April 30 because it anticipates needing more time to gain necessary approvals regardless of how a U.S. district court judge rules on the deal. That decision could come any day.
Cigna responded that it “intends to evaluate its options,” once the court rules—another sign of Cigna's lukewarm commitment to the merger and its deteriorating relationship with Anthem. The deal to combine the two insurance giants was initially announced in July 2015.
Indianapolis-based Anthem and Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna have been waiting on U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson's decision since the trial ended Jan. 4. The Department of Justice sued to block the merger in July 2016, arguing that it would reduce competition in nearly every insurance market, drive up prices, reduce quality and consumer choice, and stifle innovation in the healthcare industry.
Most insurance analysts expect Jackson to block the merger. Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte has given it less than a 10% chance of being approved.
Citing unnamed sources, the New York Post reported last week that the judge is expected to block the merger as well.
Meanwhile, insurers Aetna and Humana are waiting for U.S. District Judge John Bates to rule on their proposed $37 billion merger. Bates is expected to issue his decision this month.