In light of the ongoing antitrust trial playing out in Washington, Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem has extended the deadline to complete a merger with Connecticut-based Cigna until April 30th, according to a form filed this week to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The merger between the two healthcare giants originally had a deadline of January 31st. However, the agreement left the door open to extending it three more months.
In the filing, Anthem writes the decision is “based on its determination that additional time will be needed to consummate the merger contemplated by the Merger Agreement, regardless of the outcome of the District Court’s proceeding.”
Once the Department of Justice sued to block the merger, Anthem pushed for an early court date and speedy proceedings, citing the merger’s end date. The second phase of the trial wrapped earlier this month, with a decision expected before the end of January--later than the company had hoped for.
Last July, the Department of Justice blocked the mega-merger, which, if completed, would be one of the largest in history. Officials said the union between the two companies, both among the nation’s so-called “big five” insurers, would violate federal anti-trust laws, leading to reduced competition and higher rates for consumers.
In court documents, Anthem lawyers have said Cigna isn’t interested in being pursued beyond the April deadline. If the merger fails to close by then, Anthem is on the hook for a breakup fee totaling more than $1.8 billion.