DOJ nearing antitrust approval of mergers combining CVS-Aetna, Cigna-Express Scripts

Justice Department antitrust enforcers are reportedly preparing to approve two health care industry mergers: CVS Health's acquisition of Aetna and Cigna's purchase of Express Scripts. Both deals could receive formal antitrust approval as soon as the next few weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Justice Department antitrust enforcers are reportedly preparing to approve two health care industry mergers: CVS Health's acquisition of Aetna and Cigna's purchase of Express Scripts. Both deals could receive formal antitrust approval as soon as the next few weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. The Justice Department has identified some competition concerns surrounding the nearly $70 billion CVS-Aetna deal, and the companies will be required to sell off assets related to Medicare drug coverage to resolve those issues, those people said. The department's approval of the $54 billion Cigna and Express Scripts combination could come without the government requiring the companies to sell off any assets, said some of the people who were familiar with the review of that deal. The companies in both mergers will seek to prove that their combination of assets is best equipped to win over clients and consumers, which they have promised to do with more smoothly integrated care and services and better cost-curbing efforts. Officials at CVS and Aetna cited recent remarks by CVS CEO Larry Merlo, who said that the companies had "contemplated a range of possibilities" in the Medicare drug-plan area and "determined the impact of any divestitures would not be material to the deal model." Officials at Cigna and Express Scripts have said they are working cooperatively with the Justice Department and are confident the merger would close by year's end.