A federal judge is expected to block a proposed mega-merger between Anthem and Cigna — a $54 billion deal that would create the nation’s biggest health insurer — as soon as Thursday, sources told The Post.
In what looked like a bid to get ahead of the judge’s smackdown, Anthem said in a public filing early Thursday it is extending the expiration of the merger agreement from Jan. 31 to April 30.
Indeed, sources said Anthem can appeal any ruling that doesn’t go its way. Insiders expect that US District of Columbia Judge Amy Berman Jackson will rule against it on antitrust concerns.
President Obama’s Department of Justice sued Anthem in July, alleging the merger would stifle competition in the US health care industry. The case went to trial in November.
A ruling by Jackson against the tie-up will likely spark a fight between the corporate giants. Cigna is looking to fight any merger extension as it looks to wiggle out of the deal and collect a $1.85 billion breakup fee from Anthem, according to insiders.
Cigna said in a statement that it had received notice of Anthem’s extension and that it would evaluate its options after the court ruling.