On Monday September 17th Cigna and Express Scripts announced the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice gave approval for their proposed merger. On March 8th, Cigna announced it will pay $52 billion to acquire Express Scripts Holding, the largest pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in the country. The combined company would be named Cigna and would be based in Bloomfield, CT., where Cigna has its headquarters. Last month shareholders of both companies voted to go ahead with the deal.

The decision by federal antitrust officials to allow Cigna to buy Express Scripts signals an acceptance of so-called vertical mergers in which companies, although in the same broad line of business, do not directly compete. The nation’s big health insurers, including Aetna and Cigna, had previously tried to combine with other insurers, only to have those deals blocked over concerns about the possible impact on consumers.

In approving the Cigna-Express Scripts deal, federal officials emphasized that they did not believe the merger would decrease competition in the pharmacy business.

Next Steps: Cigna and Express Scripts said they had already received approval from 16 state insurance departments and were working with regulators in the other states to get the necessary approval. The companies continue to expect the deal to close by the end of the year, subject to satisfaction of all closing conditions. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your dedicated Brown & Brown Account Team.