CVS Health, Aetna in discussions with other potential partners during merger talks: 4 takeaways

CVS Health and Aetna were talking with other potential parties amid early discussions of their $69 billion deal, inked Dec. 3,  Bloomberg reports.

Here are four key takeaways from the report.

1. CVS Health and Aetna executives began talking in March 2017 about their shared interest in retail health. As late as August 2017, Aetna was in talks with "Party X" concerning a "strategic partnership, business combination or other opportunities," according to a Jan. 4 Securities and Exchange Commission filing. "Party X" told Aetna in October 2017 it was not going to make a deal with the insurer.

2. CVS Health also sought other potential partners. The company "continued to have discussions with multiple managed-care companies" early last year, Bloomberg reports. The filing did not name the other companies CVS Health and Aetna were speaking with.

3. CVS Health and Aetna declined Bloomberg's request for comment on the filing. In addition, the companies filed for U.S. antitrust approval Jan. 2. The Department of Justice will take the case.

4. Aside from CVS Health-Aetna relations, the filing notes Aetna began contemplating new ventures in September 2016, while it was still working on its Humana deal. Aetna and Humana mutually terminated their $37 billion merger agreement in February 2017, following a U.S. District Court's decision to block the proposed deal over antitrust concerns.

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