The approval comes 6 months after the 2 companies fist made an announcement of the proposed merger.
It's official: Cigna can acquire the largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) in the United States, Express Scripts, for a whopping $67 billion after receiving clearance from the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
“We are pleased that the Department of Justice has cleared our transaction and that we are another step closer to completing our merger and delivering greater affordability, choice and predictability to our customers and clients as a combined company,” said David Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna, in a statement.
The announcement of the merger was first made back in March 2018, with plans for $48.75 billion in cash exchange and the remaining amount as stock. A majority (90%) of Cigna’s shareholders approved of the deal in an August vote.
“Together, we believe we will be able to do even more to reduce healthcare costs, expand choice, and improve patient outcomes,” said Tim Wentworth, president and CEO of Express Scripts, reacting to the approval. “Today’s decision is one more important milestone in our effort to combine two innovative health services leaders into a company that will transform health care.”
Till date, the 2 companies have worked with insurance regulators in 16 states and plan to continue working with officials in other states to gain clearance for the merger.
Cordani will head the combined company and Wentworth will remain president of the PBM.
The deal is expected to close toward the end of 2018.