DOJ wants more information on $69 billion CVS Health and Aetna merger

The request extends the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period for the acquisition, but CVS Health continues to expect the deal will be completed in the second half of 2018, according to an SEC filing.
By Susan Morse
02:19 PM
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The U.S. Department of Justice wants CVS Health and Aetna to each provide more information on their intended $69 billion merger.

No specifics on the information being requested was provided in the notice filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CVS Health and Aetna have been anticipating the end of a waiting period on an antitrust law called the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as a step in finalizing their agreement.

[Also: CVS-Aetna merger will make an even bigger giant out of Epic]

The waiting period was scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Feb 1. On Thursday, the DOJ submitted a request for additional information to both CVS Health and Aetna.

This extends the waiting period under the HSR Act for 30 days after both CVS Health and Aetna have substantially complied with the request or the DOJ agrees with the parties or terminates the waiting period. 

Completion of the merger agreement also needs shareholder and stockholder approval. CVS Health and Aetna have each scheduled a stockholder or shareholder meeting on March 20 to get the respective approvals. 

CVS Health continues to expect that the transaction will be completed in the second half of 2018, according to the SEC filing.

CVS Health and Aetna have been cooperating with the DOJ staff since CVS filed a premerger notification and report on January 2, the filing said. 

When announced, the proposed merger was seen as a preemptive strike to gain efficiencies and lower cost against an anticipated move by Amazon to compete in the healthcare industry.

That move came this week when Amazon revealed it was collaborating with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to build an independent, nonprofit healthcare company with the goal of increasing user satisfaction and reducing cost. Details of the collaboration have yet to be released.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com