Anthem hits Cigna with suit seeking restraining order

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Anthem believes there is “sufficient time and a viable path forward” to complete its acquisition of Cigna, and says it is pursuing an expedited appeal of a federal judge’s ruling against the merger.

After Cigna announced that it was ending its merger agreement with Anthem and filed suit against it, Anthem is hitting back with legal action of its own.

The insurer announced Wednesday that it filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery seeking a temporary restraining order to stop Cigna from terminating the merger agreement.

The move comes one day after Cigna filed suit against Anthem seeking a declaratory judgment that it has lawfully terminated the merger agreement and that Anthem is not permitted to extend the termination date. Cigna also wants Anthem to pay it the $1.85 billion reverse termination fee and additional damages of more than $13 billion.

But in response, Anthem said it has already extended the merger agreement through April 30, and added that Cigna does not have the right to terminate the agreement because its own actions caused the merger to fail.

“Cigna’s lawsuit and purported termination is the next step in Cigna’s campaign to sabotage the merger and to try to deflect attention from its repeated willful breaches of the merger agreement in support of such effort,” the announcement stated.

Saying that it still believes there is “sufficient time and a viable path forward” to complete its acquisition of Cigna, Anthem noted that it is pursuing an expedited appeal of a federal judge’s ruling against the merger. The company said it would also be amenable to a settlement with the new leadership at the Justice Department that allows it to complete the transaction.

In addition, the announcement outlined what it deemed Anthem’s “intense efforts to obtain regulatory clearance” and Cigna’s “matching efforts to sabotage that goal,” covering everything from integration and mediation efforts to the antitrust trial itself.  

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Anthem and Cigna were not the only major insurers to announce a breakup on Valentine’s Day. Aetna and Humana announced Tuesday that they will not appeal a federal judge’s decision to block their deal and have mutually agreed to terminate their merger agreement.

On a conference call with analysts Wednesday, Humana CEO Bruce Broussard said the company is well-positioned to move forward on its own.

“I attribute this to our commitment to the implementation of a strong operating plan, while continuing to advance our integrated care delivery strategy during the complexity of the transaction,” he said.