(Bloomberg) — Aetna Inc.’s $37 billion deal to buy rival insurer Humana Inc. was blocked by a federal judge, thwarting one of two large mergers that would reshape the U.S. healthcare landscape. Aetna said it was considering an appeal.
The transaction would violate antitrust laws by reducing competition among insurers, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington ruled on Monday. With the deal defeated, Aetna owes Humana a $1 billion breakup fee under the terms of the merger agreement.
The ruling is another victory for antitrust enforcement efforts initiated by the Obama administration. A separate Justice Department challenge, against Anthem Inc.’s $48 billion bid for Cigna Corp., is also pending a ruling. Investors saw the ruling as a bad sign for that deal.
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