DOJ drops appeal challenging UnitedHealth's purchase of Change Healthcare

The Justice Department is no longer pursuing an appeal to block UnitedHealth Group's $7.8 billion purchase of Change Healthcare that closed in October, Reuters reported March 21. 

The government sued over the deal in February 2022, claiming a merger between Change and OptumInsight would give UnitedHealth "unprecedented monopoly power" over claims data and payments.

UnitedHealth argued Optum is separate from its insurance arm, UnitedHealthcare, and the deal should go through because there are policies in place to protect sensitive data. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols agreed and ruled in favor of the merger Sept. 19.

At the time, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, Jonathan Kanter, said the department "respectfully disagrees with the court's decision and are reviewing the opinion closely to evaluate next steps." By November, the DOJ had appealed the court's decision.

The Justice Department did not respond to Reuters about why it decided to drop its appeal. Following the dismissal, UnitedHealth Group's shares went up 0.2 percent to $478.09, according to the report.

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