A Federal Judge Is Making Noise About Halting CVS-Aetna Deal, But What Can He Actually Do About It?
Under the law, when the Justice Department strikes an agreement with companies, the deal must be cleared by a federal judge to provide a layer of oversight for those negotiations. In the CVS-Aetna case specifically, that means Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia can decide whether the agreement Justice struck with CVS and Aetna on their Medicare Part D businesses addresses anti-competitive issues. If he finds it does not, the companies can either appeal or renegotiate.
How A Judge Can Rule On Justice Department's Deal With CVS, Aetna
A federal judge is considering halting the integration of CVS Health and Aetna — even though the two companies closed their merger last week. Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a hearing Monday floated the idea that CVS and Aetna keep their companies separate until he can determine whether the agreement the Justice Department struck with the companies clears anti-competitive concerns, according to a transcript of the hearing. (LaVito, 12/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Federal Judge Voices Concerns About Justice Dept. Approval Of CVS-Aetna Deal
It is highly unusual for a judge to make such an announcement, since Justice Department antitrust enforcers had approved the deal in October under the condition the companies sell Aetna’s Medicare drug business to preserve competition. The companies sold those assets to WellCare Health Plans Inc. When the Justice Department identifies concerns with a merger—and reaches an agreement with the merging companies to address them—a federal law called the Tunney Act requires the government to file the proposed settlement for approval by a federal court, which determines whether the deal is in the public interest. (Kendall, 12/3)
CVS Ordered By U.S. Judge To Defend Consummating Aetna Deal
The ruling complicates CVS’s plans for the Aetna acquisition, a $68 billion deal that creates a health-care giant with a hand in insurance, prescription-drug benefits and drugstores across the U.S. CVS closed the takeover on Nov. 28 after obtaining final regulatory approvals and now faces the prospect that its plans for the combined company will be put on hold. “CVS Health and Aetna are one company, and our focus is on transforming the consumer health experience,” CVS said in a statement, without commenting further. (McLaughlin, 12/3)