Anthem sought order barring exit for 60 days to save the deal
Federal courts have found merger riddled with antitrust issues
Delaware Chancery Judge Travis Laster said Anthem didn’t deserve a 60-day extension to an earlier order barring Cigna’s exit because it was “incredibly unlikely,” the company could close the deal. However, the judge said there was significant evidence Cigna may have violated the merger agreement by dragging its feet on antitrust concerns, which could entitle Anthem to “potentially massive damages.”
“The reality is both parties probably have some risk and they’ll bargain for something between zero and $1.85 billion,” said Matt Cantor, an antitrust lawyer at Constantine Cannon.
Laster’s decision may be the final dagger to a deal that has been as notable for the bad blood between the two insurers as its antitrust roadblocks. Anthem is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn rulings finding the deal flawed by antitrust problems, and the court is unlikely to weigh in now that Cigna has been allowed to walk.