It was the $54 billion deal that wouldn't die. But on Friday morning, the proposed merger between national health insurers Anthem and Cigna Corp. finally ended.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court ruling from February that blocked the two insurers from merging on grounds that the combination would harm competition, particularly in the national employer market.
Two judges on the three-judge panel said the District Court didn't err in its findings.
"We hold that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in enjoining the merger based on Anthem's failure to show the kind of extraordinary efficiencies necessary to offset the conceded anticompetitive effect of the merger in the 14 Anthem states: the loss of Cigna, an innovative competitor in a highly concentrated market," the opinion, penned by Judge Judith Rogers, states.
Anthem and Cigna could appeal to the Supreme Court or request a hearing en banc at the D.C. Circuit.
The insurers initially struck up a deal to merge in July 2015. The U.S. Justice Department, 11 states and the District of Columbia sued to block the merger in July 2016 and won a preliminary injunction.