✦ After a lengthy, unprecedented review of CVS Health Corp.’s acquisition of Aetna, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon officially signed off on the deal in an opinion issued Sept. 4. Through a statute known as the Tunney Act, Leon was charged with reviewing the U.S. Justice Dept.’s settlement with CVS to rectify antitrust issues it found with the transaction. In that settlement, Aetna agreed to sell its Medicare Part D holdings to WellCare Health Plans, Inc. CVS closed its transaction last November, assuming Leon would sign off on the deal as judges typically do. But Leon instead called hearings to scrutinize the deal (HPW 12/24/18, p. 1), forcing CVS to operate Aetna’s health insurance business separately from its other segments in the meantime. Leon ultimately determined that CVS’s settlement with the government “is in the public interest,” clearing the way for the firm to fully integrate with Aetna. However, Leon also opined that “if the Tunney Act is to mean anything, it surely must mean that no court should rubberstamp a consent decree approving the merger of ‘one of the largest companies in the United States’ and ‘the nation’s third-largest health-insurance company,’ simply because the Government requests it!” View the opinion at https://bit.ly/2lEhvdW.
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