Anthem-Cigna trial: Unsealed testimony sheds light on companies' conflict

Recently unsealed testimony in the Anthem-Cigna trial shows just how much the two companies have been at odds since the DOJ moved to block their merger.

In recent trial testimony, Anthem and Cigna's top executives revealed new details about the deepening rift between the two would-be merger partners. 

Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish testified that once Cigna stopped cooperating with its integration efforts, his company established a confidential team to complete the task without Cigna’s knowledge, according to newly unsealed documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal. The testimony took place last Tuesday, but was closed to the public until news organizations petitioned the judge to unseal it; both insurers filed briefs saying they had no objection.

RELATED: As Anthem-Cigna trial begins, a look back at the deal’s key moments

Swedish also revealed that Anthem expanded Cordani’s planned role in the combined company in response to pressure from Cigna’s board, but said he wasn’t sure Cordani would even stay with the organization post-merger, according to the WSJ.

For Cordani’s part, he confirmed that his company stopped participating in certain integration efforts in the summer. He also expressed concerns that Anthem’s integration strategy could damage Cigna’s network and value, according to the article.

A letter from Cigna’s general counsel to Anthem’s general counsel sheds further light on Cigna’s stance, Bloomberg reports.

"Your approach to the regulatory strategy, when coupled with your approach to integration and other matters, appear to be designed to cause commercial harm to Cigna while simultaneously strengthening your fellow Blues," the letter states.

Despite opposition from Anthem, Judge Amy Berman Jackson previously granted the DOJ’s request that the insurers turn over letters in which they accuse one another of breaching their merger agreement. The government argued that the discord helped prove its case against the deal. Indeed, signs of conflict between the companies has stretched as far back as the deal’s beginnings, when Cigna initially rebuked Anthem’s takeover attempt.

From Swedish’s standpoint, though, he testified that the “noise” related to the two companies’ conflict doesn’t hurt Anthem’s readiness or ability to move forward with the deal, the WSJ reports.