$48B Anthem, Cigna deal could come this week

Anthem and Cigna's acquisition saga may finally bear fruit, as the two companies are poised to announce an approximately $48 billion deal this week.

The two health insurers have been negotiating since Anthem took its takeover bid public, a move that drew a sharply worded rejection from Cigna's board of directors, which said the acquisition was not in the company's best interests.

But when Aetna and Humana announced their own merger deal, many expected talks between Anthem and Cigna to progress--and in fact they did. Those renewed talks now are likely to result in a deal, as some of the main sticking points, such as governance issues and price point, have been resolved, Reuters reports.

Anthem had previously offered $184 per share to acquire Cigna, and the current deal would be valued around $188 per share, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, the insurers have not yet signed an agreement, and it's possible the terms could change or the deal could be delayed, the WSJ notes.

The two insurers have also decided that Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish would run the combined company, the New York Times reports. Cigna's board had expressed doubts about Anthem's governance plan, calling it "disconcerting and risky" and seeking a larger role for its own CEO, David Cordani.

Regarding the other major health insurance deal, Humana moved to sweeten Humana CEO Bruce Broussard's exit compensation package hours before the company agreed to its deal with Aetna, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The changes removed restrictions on Broussard's ability to exercise certain stock options and accelerated his equity awards in the event he leaves within two years of the deal--though neither Aetna nor Humana has commented on the CEO's future.  

To learn more:
- read the Reuters report
- here's the WSJ article
- check out the New York Times report
- here's the Courier-Journal piece

Related Articles:
Anthem, Cigna make progress toward merger deal
Cigna, Anthem trade barbs over 'deeply disappointing' takeover bid
Anthem won't back down on bid to take over Cigna
Cigna, Anthem CEOs can't see eye-to-eye
Aetna acquires Humana for $37B
Which CEO would get biggest golden parachute in health insurer merger?

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