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Valentine's Day Breakup: Anthem Gets Dumped As Cigna Pulls Plug On Merger Agreement

Matt Chaney

Just days after a federal judge shut down a $54 billion merger between health insurers Anthem and Cigna on anti-competitive grounds, a Valentine’s Day move by Connecticut’s Cigna seeks to dump the Indianapolis-based company once and for all.


Cigna officials announced Tuesday they had sued Anthem in a Delaware court seeking a judge’s affirmation that the company had lawfully ducked out of the merger agreement, and that Anthem couldn’t extend the merger’s expiration date.


As expected, Cigna is hoping to collect from Anthem a large “breakup” fee -- a kind of corporate prenuptial agreement -- that stipulates Anthem will pay Cigna $1.8 billion if the merger doesn’t go through.


Additionally, Cigna says Indianapolis-based Anthem is on the hook for another $13 billion in damages owed to shareholders as a result of the failed deal.


Anthem lawyers call Cigna’s action’s “invalid.” They announced last week the company planned to file a speedy appeal of the federal court’s decision. In January, the companies agreed to extend the merger’s deadline until the end of April.


Two other health insurers also parted ways this week, citing irreconcilable differences. Aetna and Humana decided to part ways after a similar federal ruling shut down their planned merger.


But in sharp contrast to the Anthem-Cigna fallout, Aetna and Humana leaders announced Tuesday they were disappointed they couldn’t consummate their relationship, but thought the time had come to see other companies. Aetna has agreed to pay Humana its own billion-dollar termination fee.




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