Cigna CEO: Express Scripts deal leaves very little overlap for antitrust argument

Cigna CEO David Cordani told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" the payer's proposed $54 billion bid for Express Scripts is combining two complementary companies and won't hurt consumers.

Some experts have said the Cigna-Express Scripts deal is akin to AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner, which is undergoing review by the Justice Department. The vertical merger is among several the DOJ will scrutinize, including CVS Health's bid for Aetna, that critics argue may not be best for consumers even though the firms aren't direct competitors.

Mr. Cordani said during the interview his company's proposed transaction with Express Scripts is different.

"We are not dealing with distribution and content" like AT&T and Time Warner, he said, according to the report. "We are dealing with two complementary companies: one that is a health services company, and one that is a pharmacy service company. That has very little overlap for any traditional antitrust measures, and we believe that as that becomes understood with facts, this will not only be approved but will be approved this year."

In an April 23 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Cigna said the companies expect the transaction to close by Dec. 31, despite the DOJ's recent request for information on their pending deal. The insurer and pharmacy benefits manager announced their proposed transaction March 8.

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Cigna profit soars 53%: 4 things to know

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