U.S. District Judge John Bates intercepted Aetna’s proposed acquisition of Humana, a deal the judge declared was “presumptively unlawful” in the private marketplace. The proposed $37 billion acquisition, which was focused on Medicare Advantage plans, a market in which Humana is particularly strong, was blocked because it was thought that it would lessen competition for Medicare Advantage plans in the marketplace. The judge declared the merger would not be in the best interest of the companies’ consumers, especially in other markets where the merger would have a large share of business.
Judge Bates commented, “The court is unpersuaded that the efficiencies generated by the merger will be sufficient to mitigate the anticompetitive effects for consumers in the challenged markets.”
This interception came just 6 months after a proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna was blocked by the Justice Department.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more information regarding the Aetna-Humana merger proposal.