Aetna and Humana Abandoned Their $37 Billion Deal of Combination

Aetna and Humana Abandoned Their $37 Billion Deal of Combination

Regulators were concerned that the merger will stifle consumer choices and competition in the market for Medicare Advantage plans.

As a result, Aetna, which spent almost two years trying to orchestrate the deal, will pay Kentucky-based Humana a $1 billion break up fee.

"While we continue to believe that a combined company would create greater value for health care consumers through improved affordability and quality, the current environment makes it too challenging to continue pursuing the transaction", Mark Bertolini, Aetna's Chairman and CEO, said in the announcement. Anthem has vowed to appeal that decision.

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Humana is based in Louisville. "Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, Cigna does not have a right to terminate the agreement", an Anthem spokesperson told CNBC.

Both proposed mergers were blocked by federal judges, who agreed with Justice Department antitrust regulators that reducing the number of major USA insurers from five to three could harm consumers. In light of the Court's ruling, Cigna rejected Anthem's overture and said it believes that the transaction can not and will not achieve regulatory approval.

Last week, Humana released an earnings report that revealed little about whether the company aims to fight on in court to merge with health insurer Aetna or walk away.

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Cigna says it is rejecting Anthem's proposed $48 billion acquisition bid and suing the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer.

After more than a year of review and another six months in court, only to lose, it looks like health insurer Anthem's plan to buy rival Cigna is truly dead in the water. Ana Gupte, an analyst with Leerink Partners wrote the deal was viewed "as completely dead at this point" in a note last week. The privately run program covers health benefits for 18 million Americans and competes with traditional government-run Medicare, which covers the balance of the 55 million people 65 and older as well as the disabled.

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