On Monday, September 17, 2018, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) cleared Cigna’s proposed $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts, the country’s largest pharmacy benefit manager. While the transaction still needs the approval of certain state regulatory agencies, obtaining the DOJ’s approval was widely seen as the transaction’s most significant obstacle to overcome.
Cigna – one of the country’s largest health insurers – announced its proposed acquisition of Express Scripts back on March 7, 2018. Since then, Cigna and Express Scripts have been able to obtain regulatory clearances from 16 of the 29 states needed for the transaction, and the acquisition was formally approved by the shareholders on August 24, 2018. In Monday’s announcement, Cigna stated that it expects the proposed transaction to close by the end of the year.
While Cigna and Express Scripts await the remaining state regulatory approvals for its transaction, another significant proposed transaction – CVS’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Aetna – remains under DOJ review. While it is unclear exactly when the DOJ will make its decision on the CVS-Aetna transaction, some view the DOJ’s approval of the Cigna-Express Scripts transaction as a good sign for the deal going forward.